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City Club of Eugene: Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis

Recorded On: June 12, 2020

Air Date: June 15, 2020

From the City Club of Eugene:

The toll of American gun violence is horrific, and it is on the rise.  In 2017, gun deaths reached their highest level since 1968, with 39,773 deaths by firearms.  The rate of firearm deaths per 100,000 people rose from 10.3 per 100,000 in 1999 to 12 per 100,000 in 2017, with 109 people dying per day.  More than 1.2 million Americans have been shot in the past decade.  

The statistics are even worse for communities of color.  Black men make up 52% of all gun homicide victims, despite comprising less than 7% of the US population. Black Americans are 10 times more likely than white Americans to die by gun homicide, and 14 times more likely to be injured in a gun assault.

To date, gun violence has been considered primarily a law enforcement issue. Would it make more sense to study the problem as a public health issue, seeking causes and solutions for the carnage? In this program, national experts discuss what can be achieved if we treat this as a public health problem.  They examine the impact of gun violence on communities, school shootings, connections with law enforcement, and legislation at the state and local levels.

Kathleen F. Carlson is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Oregon Health & Science University-Portland State University School of Public Health, and a Core Investigator with the Health Services Research Center of Innovation at the VA Portland Health Care System. Dr. Carlson leads Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue work-group at OHSU-PSU. Her research examines the spectrum of injury prevention and control approaches, from the epidemiology of intentional and unintentional injuries to the rehabilitation of military veterans with combat injuries. Her current research grants examine firearm-related injuries. She earned a BS at Oregon State University and a PhD at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, with a focus on injury epidemiology.

Paul Boxer, PhD, is the Director of the Rutgers Center on Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice and a Professor of Psychology at Rutgers-Newark. Dr. Boxer’s work focuses on the development, prevention, and treatment of violent and nonviolent antisocial behavior. He is currently studying evidence-based practices in the juvenile justice system; the impact of community violence and crime on youth development; and the role of youth gangs in the development and persistence of antisocial behavior. Boxer earned a BA from Williams College and a PhD in clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University.

Jeffrey Sprague, PhD, is a professor of special education and the director of the University of Oregon Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior. He is a nationally recognized expert on school violence, school safety, positive behavior interventions and supports, multi-tiered support systems, alternative education, and juvenile delinquency prevention and treatment. Jeff has written books for educators on crime prevention and school safety. Sprague earned bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in special education from the University of Oregon.

Allison Anderman is senior counsel at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which she joined in 2014. She consults with cities and counties around the country aiming to enact effective local gun safety laws and pass extreme risk protection order legislation. Anderman also writes Gun Law Trendwatch, Gifford Law Center’s roundup of state firearm legislation, and manages the legal content of the Giffords website. She has analyzed and debated gun laws on CNN, HuffPost Live, NPR, KQED in San Francisco, and KCRW in Los Angeles. Her opinions are quoted extensively in the press, including by the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesNewsweek, and the Guardian. Anderman earned her law degree at the University of San Francisco.

Copyright 2020, KLCC


Love Cross joined KLCC in 2017. She began her public radio career as a graduate student, serving as Morning Edition Host for Boise State Public Radio in the late 1990s. She earned her undergraduate degree in Rhetoric and Communication from University of California at Davis, and her Master’s Degree from Boise State University. In addition to her work in public radio, Love teaches college-level courses in Communication and Public Speaking.
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