The City of Seattle is about to embark on a new study that hasn’t been done in other American cities—to look at gun violence from a public health standpoint.
In a unanimous vote the City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee approved $153,000 for gun safety research. The idea is that gun violence is a public health issue, so part of the study’s focus will look at prevention.
Dr. Beth Ebel is a pediatrician. She also directs the Injury Prevention and Research Center at Harborview Medical Center. Ebel is one of the staff conducting the study. She says her team will be analyzing hospital data, along with data from the state’s death registry, and state criminal records registry for information.
“We need to know what works, who is at greatest risk, how can we target the resources that we have now,” says Ebel.
One question researchers hope to answer is whether people with substance abuse and mental health issues who own guns are also at higher risk for gun-related injuries and deaths.
The full council is expected to take up the proposal later this month.