Having spent half my life in Canada and half in the States, I find the notion that nothing can be done about gun deaths and injuries hard to swallow. Americans need to learn from the rest of the wealthy nations and implement a multifaceted public health approach to reducing gun violence and accidents.
Education about drunk driving and seat belt use, enhancement and enforcement of safety laws, use of air bags and car seats, and graduated licensing requirements for teens are just some of the factors that have dramatically reduced traffic fatalities. This approach can work with guns, too.
U.S. rates of assault, burglary, and robbery are average, but we have by far the highest rates of gun homicide, gun suicide, and accidental gun deaths compared with other wealthy nations (New England Journal of Medicine, 2013). This is not inevitable.
We can use technology to make it easier to trace guns, harder to steal them, and harder for them to fire accidentally. We can implement consistent and up-to-date nationwide background checks, require gun licensing and insurance, and increase education on gun safety and proper storage. We also need to stop glorifying guns the same way we have gradually made smoking less acceptable.