For Immediate Release
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American Public Health Association Disappointed in Supreme Court Decision Overturning Chicago's Handgun Ban

Washington, D.C., June 28, 2010 — The American Public Health Association expressed its disappointment with today’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned Chicago’s ban on handgun ownership.

“There is a clear link between handguns and increased risk of homicide, suicide and fatal accidental shootings, especially for those people who live in homes with guns, for women and for children,” said Susan Polan, PhD, associate executive director of public affairs and advocacy at APHA. “Today’s ruling is a serious setback for creating safer, healthier communities and for reducing violence-related injury and death.”

The ban was at the center of McDonald v. the city of Chicago. In a friend-of-the-court brief, APHA argued that the ability to prevent injuries and deaths caused by handguns was at stake if the law was overturned. The Association joined health professionals, law enforcement officials, mayors and others in supporting Chicago’s ban on handguns.

“Firearms have a profound effect on the public’s health,” said Carmen Nevarez, MD, MPH, president of APHA. “Gun homicide rates are highest among blacks and Hispanics, while gun suicide rates are highest among whites. We have an epidemic of gun-related violence and injury that touches all populations across our country and that must be addressed.”

APHA has long supported comprehensive measures to reduce and prevent premature injury and death from handguns, including limiting access to handguns, creating a national database to facilitate research on handgun-related fatalities and developing community- and school-based programs targeting the prevention of handgun injuries, suicides, homicides and assaults.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at