Gun deaths among black men at 28, doctors take steps to reframe gun violence as one of America’s top health crises

There has been a substantial increase in gun-related deaths in the United States over the past three decades and black men are the most affected, according to a new study by a team of emergency physicians. According to the study, they are 23 times more likely to be victims of firearm homicide than white men.

“Gun violence is an incredible scourge in our country. Gun violence affects everyone, and that’s an important thing to recognize. However, it affects some groups much more than others. Black men talk about the one of the greatest disparities, if not the greatest disparity,” co-author Eric Flagler, associate professor of pediatrics and emergency physician at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.

In a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, Flagler and colleagues analyzed disparities in gun-related deaths between 1990 and 2021. They showed that gun-related homicides are greatest among black men between the ages of 20 and 40. Gun violence among black men is at its highest level in 28 years, the analysis found.

PHOTO: FILE - Semi-automatic rifles are displayed at Coastal Trading and Pawn, July 18, 2022, in Auburn, Maine.

Semi-automatic rifles are displayed at Coastal Trading and Pawn, July 18, 2022, in Auburn, Maine.

Robert F. Bukaty/AP, FILE

“There are these hotspots where gun deaths are happening more frequently, and interventions need to be tailored where they are happening. We are seeing huge rates of gun-related homicides among young black men and African Americans – this is the population where we may need to think about implementing violence prevention strategies,” said co-author Chris Reese, assistant professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

To reframe gun violence as a public health crisis, the American Medical Association, one of the nation’s largest medical associations, created the first Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention. fire in November.

“We cannot continue to live this way…In movie theaters, places of worship, hospitals, big cities and small towns, gun violence has shattered all sense of safety and cost the As physicians, we are committed to ending gun violence by advocating for common-sense, evidence-based solutions, and this task force will be key to that ongoing effort,” said Jack Resneck Jr., president of the American Medical Association, in a statement at the launch of the task force.

Experts say there are a range of factors that contribute to the high rates of gun death among black men.

“Weak gun laws cause more damage in places that have been subjected to systemic racial inequality,” said Jeffrey Gardere, clinical psychologist and associate professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.

PHOTO: FILE - A collection of illegal firearms are displayed at a gun buy-back event, May 22, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

A collection of illegal firearms are displayed at a gun buy-back event, May 22, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Bebeto Matthews/AP, FILE

Medical associations like the AMA have called for more gun laws over the years to tackle gun violence – but there was no government action until last June, when the Congress passed the first gun law in 30 years.

But gun laws alone won’t solve the societal problems that contribute to gun violence among Black men.

In places with higher unemployment rates, unequal access to safe housing, and neglected public infrastructure, people may be at greater risk of dangerous behavior, Gardere said. Addressing these issues “would help black and brown people, especially men, to be able to avoid gun violence – whether as victims or as perpetrators,” he said.

Reframing gun violence as a public health issue means affected communities need to be at the table as vocal members of any working group.

“The next step I would like to see is to approach things at the community level and consider what communities think is doable. I don’t think any community wants to see higher rates of gun deaths. “, said Rees.

All hands are needed to solve this ever-worsening problem.

“Unfortunately, in our country, the gun epidemic is escalating at an accelerating rate,” Flagler said.

Faith Crittenden, MD MPH is a resident pediatric physician at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital and a contributing correspondent for ABC News’ Medical Unit.

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