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Preventing Gun Deaths Through Data and Research

UAPD has sponsored a new bill to address the public health crisis posed by gun violence.  With UAPD’s support, Senator Richard Pan, M.D., has introduced SB 877, a bill requiring the state to establish and maintain a data-tracking system on violent deaths in the state, including gun deaths.

According to a press release from Senator Pan:

SB 877 is sponsored by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists and would require the Department of Public Health to establish and maintain a system for collecting data on violent deaths in the state and allow the Department to apply for grant funding for the program.  Specifically, CDPH would contract with counties to collect data on violent deaths from various sources, including death certificates, law enforcement agencies, and coroners. Such data would be used to assess the magnitude of the problem, trends, and characteristics of violent deaths and would be used to assist policy makers and communities as they determine appropriate prevention and education efforts.

Researchers point to the difference in how guns and vehicle fatalities are tracked to demonstrate how we can better prevent gun deaths through data and research.  Guns are now killing just as many Americans as cars, yet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started a national database in 1975 called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) which holds detailed datasets for every car death in the nation. By contrast, a unified and complete database for gun deaths is virtually non-existent.  The NVDRS is voluntary and receives no data or incomplete data from many states including California.

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