A Look at Firearm Safety in Arizona

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The Arizona Public Health Association Board of Directors met for a strategic planning retreat. One of the outcomes was to develop strategic priorities for the next 2 years – which included prioritizing work around firearm violence.

They commissioned a report on AZ and firearms from Julia Jackman, an ASU student and Fulbright Global Health Scholar at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology. Her report shows how much of a public health threat firearm violence is in Arizona.

Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association, Will Humble, and Julia Jackman join us today to take a closer look at firearm safety and where Arizona compares to other states.

What is going on with firearms and health risks?

“The firearm violence is a huge public health threat. It’s the number 3 leading cause of death in kids in Arizona, yet there hasn’t been any good epidemiological surveillance that has ever been in the last 10 years. We commissioned the report, Allan Williams and Julia put this together, and it really dives into the details of the epidemiology of firearm violence, homicides, suicides, accidents, etc. Importantly, it does a literature review of what are the policy interventions that could really make a big difference,” said Humble. The goal is that this will be translated into new policies.

What did you look for and what you found?

“We were looking at rates amongst different groups in Arizona, as well as who was most affected by firearm violence. We saw that there were increases in rates no matter which aspect of firearm violence you looked at, if you were looking at homicides, suicides, school shootings, mass shootings. Everything has been increasing in Arizona,” said Jackman.

There are two primary reasons for these increases one of which being an increase of firearm sales. “We also see significant disparities in different populations in Arizona. Specifically looking at homicides, we see that Black Arizonans have six times the risk as white Arizonans for homicide,” said Jackman.

These disparities reach different sectors of the community whether it is ethnic, racial or urban divides.

Will Humble, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association; Julia Jackman, ASU student and Fulbright Global Health Scholar at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology

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