Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has announced the release of two reports, “U.S. Gun Violence in 2021: An Accounting of a Public Health Crisis,” an annual report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, and “Alcohol Misuse and Gun Violence: An Evidence-based Approach for State Policy,” co-produced by Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions and the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy.
The first report provides updated data on gun fatalities in the U.S., and highlights the need for action to prevent gun violence and create a more peaceful future. According to the report, gun violence is a major public health crisis in the United States that worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, and hasn’t appeared to slow. In 2021, almost “49,000 people died from gun violence,” with an average of 134 deaths per day. Gun homicides and suicides increased, and guns were the “leading cause of death among children and teens.” Despite record gun sales during the pandemic, evidence shows that “gun ownership greatly increases the risk of dying by suicide and homicide.” Many evidence-based, equitable solutions exist to prevent gun violence, but policymakers have been slow to enact them.
The second report sheds an important light on firearm policy by delving into the “intersection of alcohol use and gun violence.” Evidence shows that many gun homicide perpetrators, homicide victims, and gun suicide victims were heavily influenced by alcohol. Despite this, few attempts have been made to address this intersection. The report makes two main policy recommendations: 1) limit access to firearms by persons with a history of alcohol misuse and 2) limit access to guns when and where alcohol is consumed.
Both reports support the need for firearm policy that will help reduce gun violence and protect the public from harm.