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

The Roman Empire’s Cosmopolitan Frontier

Genetic analysis reveals a culture enriched from both sides of the Danube.

Tobacco Smoke and Tuberculosis

Harvard researchers illuminate a longstanding epidemiological connection. 

Discourse and Discipline

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences broaches two tough topics.

Most popular

Small-Town Roots

Professors’ humble beginnings, concentration choices, and a mini history of Harvard and Radcliffe presidents

Vita: Fanny Bullock Workman

Brief life of a feisty mountaineer: 1859-1925

Being Black at Work

Realizing the full potential of black employees

More to explore

Illustration of a box containing a laid-off fossil fuel worker's office belongings

Preparing for the Energy Transition

Expect massive job losses in industries associated with fossil fuels. The time to get ready is now.

Apollonia Poilâne standing in front of rows of fresh-baked loaves at her family's flagship bakery

Her Bread and Butter

A third-generation French baker on legacy loaves and the "magic" of baking

Illustration that plays on the grade A+ and the term Ai

AI in the Academy

Generative AI can enhance teaching and learning but augurs a shift to oral forms of student assessment.