Gun Laws and the Science of Harm

David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health has approached gun laws scientifically.

David Hemenway

In the wake of the tragic killings of more than two dozen people, mostly young children, in Newtown, Connecticut, the New York Times published an editorial advocating much stricter gun laws in the United States, pointing out that “the American murder rate is roughly 15 times that of other wealthy countries, which have much tougher laws controlling private ownership of guns.”  In two places, the text cites research from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center at the Harvard School of Public Health, whose director is professor of health policy David Hemenway.  The Harvard Magazine feature “Death by the Barrel” describes and explains Hemenway’s research, which applies the scientific method to the gun problem and frames it as a public-health, rather than a political, issue, distilling some of the findings and ideas in his 2004 book, Private Guns Public Health, a comprehensive treatise on both the grim facts and the policy issues involved in firearm regulation.


You might also like

Kevin Young Named 2024 Harvard Arts Medalist

Museum director and poet to be honored April 24

How Air Pollution Affects Our Brains

An expert Harvard panel discusses the links between air pollution and dementia, learning, mental health, and mood.

Harvard Magazine March-April 2024 Scavenger Hunt

March-April 2024 Print Issue Scavenger Hunt

Most popular

Retreat and Recreate: Peddocks Island

This Boston Harbor island offers an urban oasis.

The “Bionic Leaf ”

Harvard scientists find a way to convert solar energy into a liquid fuel.

Net Effects

Janet Echelman’s urban sculptures take to the skies.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults