Firearms and the public health

Susan P. Baker, Stephen P. Teret, Park Elliott Dietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


FIREARMS in the United States are second only to motor vehicles in the number of fatal injuries they inflict. In 1977 they caused 32, 000 deaths, or 15 per 100, 000 population. Of these, the manner of death was classed as unintentional (“accident”) in 2, 000, homicide in 13, 000, suicide in 16, 000, legal intervention in 250, and undetermined in 900 (1). Firearms are used in two-thirds of all homicides. The homicide epidemic during the late 1960s and early 1970s was predominandy associated with an increase in murders by firearms (2), which tripled between i960 and 1973. Generally unrecognized is the contribution to occupational fatalities of firearm homicides, with high-risk groups including police, operators of small businesses, and other people whose work requires them to handle substantial amounts of cash. In Dade County, Florida, during the decade ending in 1977, there were 171 work-related deaths caused by firearms, compared to 88 by motor vehicles and 80 by falls, the other leading causes of work-related injury deaths (3).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-229
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of public health policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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