Washington, D.C., February 23, 2010 — The American Public Health Association today joined health professionals, law enforcement officials, mayors and others in supporting Chicago’s ban on handguns. The ban is at the center of McDonald v. the city of Chicago, a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
APHA is dedicated to protecting the public’s health, safety and well-being and has signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the ban. In the brief, the Association argues that the ability to prevent injuries and deaths caused by handguns is at stake if the current law is overturned.
“There is a powerful and irrefutable link between handguns and increased risk of homicide, suicide and fatal accidental shootings, especially for those people who live in homes with guns,” said Susan Polan, PhD, associate executive director of public affairs and advocacy at APHA. “Handguns pose particular risk to women and children, and the research suggests that the statutes challenged in this case may prevent a substantial number of firearm deaths and injuries.”
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.
“Reducing violence-related injury and death is a major goal of public health,” said Polan. “APHA seeks to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats, and the Supreme Court has the opportunity to positively shape the future of public health in this case by upholding current law. We strongly support Chicago’s ban on handguns.”