JAMA paper ID’s interventions for firearm injuries, deaths

Postscript

January 8, 2021

JAMA paper ID’s interventions for firearm injuries, deaths

The authors note that Washington is the only state to offer three public-safety mechanisms discussed in the Perspective. 

Amid the rise of infections and deaths from COVID-19, other health issues have been overshadowed. In the United States, the problem of firearm injuries and fatalities has continued.

A Viewpoint published Jan. 8 in JAMA discusses three interventions that might reduce the risk of these injuries and deaths.  It was authored by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC) and the University of Washington School of Medicine, and the University of Alabama School of Law.

Currently Washington is the only state in which all three interventions are available. They are:

  • Mapped locations where firearms can be temporarily stored during crises
  • Voluntary Do-Not-Sell lists
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs)

“These interventions can potentially allow physicians and other clinicians to decrease the risk of firearm injuries and death to their patients,” said lead author Dr. Frederick Rivara, who directs the Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at HIPRC. He is a UW professor of pediatrics and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health. 

Mapping locations with temporary firearm storage is a solution for families with a household member experiencing a mental health crisis. Colorado and Washington have created interactive maps showing law enforcement agencies, gun stores, and shooting ranges that are willing to temporarily store firearms.

Voluntary Do-Not-Sell lists are laws that allow individuals to voluntarily and confidentially restrict their own ability to purchase firearms.

ERPOs provide a judicial process to restrict firearm purchase and possession by individuals whose behavior indicates they are at extreme risk of harming themselves, others, or both. 

“By having these interventions available to doctors and other clinicians, they present opportunities which could help lower the risks of firearm injuries and deaths,” Rivara said.

The commentary’s authors say all three interventions respect the rights of individuals to possess firearms.

Other authors are Dr. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, a UW associate professor of epidemiology and adjunct associate professor of pediatrics, and Frederick E. Vars, a senior professor of law at the University of Alabama.