Harvard Injury Control Research Center

Current Highlights

May 1, 2019 

Standards writing and standardization remain important and underappreciated endeavors in reducing injuries.      

My first book was on voluntary standards (Hemenway, Industrywide Voluntary Product Standards, 1975) and their important in the US and world economies.  The effects of standards on markets and the economy as a whole remains understudied, as do the effects of standards on safety.  For a brief recent interview with William S. Lerner, a member of the International Standards Organization (ISO) which promotes safety on a global scale, see http://www.waterstofmagazine.nl/achtergronden/15-achtergronden/186-waterstofspecialist-william-s-lerner-over-het-belang-van-iso-voor-waterstof.

March 4, 2019 

US remains an outlier in terms of firearm deaths compared to the other high-income countries.      

US firearm homicide rates were 25 times higher and overall homicide rates were 7.5 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries (2015).  92% of all women killed by guns and 97% of all children aged 0-4 killed by guns in high-income countries were US residents.  White firearm homicide victimization rates were 12 time higher than rates in other high-income countries.  Compared to these other countries, for US residents in high-gun states, firearm homicide victimization rates were 36 times higher and for US residents in low-gun states, firearm homicide victimization rates were 13.5 times higher.  The article, “Violent death rates  in the US compared to those in the other high-income countries, 2015” by Erin Grinshteyn and David Hemenway appears in Preventive Medicine 2019; 123:20-26.

March 3, 2019 

Firearm training is not associated with safe firearm storage practices    

Using data from HICRC’s 2015 national firearm survey, we found that 30% of gun owners stored at least one gun loaded and unlocked.  Among gun owners who had received formal firearms training, 32% stored one or more guns loaded and unlocked, compared to 26% of  gun owners who had not received training.  Firearms were more likely to be stored loaded and unlocked for respondents who owned a gun for protection, who owned multiple firearms, who owned handguns, and who carried a loaded gun.  Controlling for those factors, firearms training was not associated with storing firearms loaded and unlocked.  Firearms training, as currently provided, is unlikely to reduce unsafe firearm storage.  The article, “Firearms training and storage practices among US gun owners: a nationally representative study, by John Berrigan, Deborah Azrael, David Hemenway and Matthew Miller appears in Injury Prevention 2019 epub ahead of print.

February 22, 2019 

The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) is a good source of data on fatal police shootings    

HICRC compared the NVDRS data on fatal shootings of civilians by law enforcement officers in the United States with 5 open-source data sets (FatalEncounters.org, Mapping Police Violence, the Guardian’s ‘The Counted,’ Gun Violence Archive, and the Washington Post’s ‘Fatal Force Database.’)  NVDRS captured 97% of the possible incidents.  NVDRS also provides comparable and detailed circumstance information about these deaths.  Open-source data is highly useful for real-time data and non-fatal injuries.  The National Institute of Justice funded article, “Validating the National Violent Death Reporting System as a source of data on fatal shootings of civilians by law enforcement officers” by Andrew Conner, Deborah Azrael, Vivian Lyons, Catherine Barber and Matthew Miller appears in the American Journal of Public Health, 2019 109:578-584.

December 30, 2018 

American injury prevention pioneers discuss major accomplishments and disappointments in trying to create an injury prevention field    

Thirty-six pioneers in the injury prevention field responded to questions  about the major accomplishments and failures of their profession since the publication of Injury in America in 1985.  Much has been accomplished.  Indeed, it is difficult to believe that before the 1990s there was no federal agency focused on preventing fall injuries, drownings, sport concussions or bullying in schools.  There was no readily available surveillance data on fatal injuries, no national associations of injury researchers or practitioners, no APHA injury section, and few injury journals.  Hardly anyone wore seat belts, and virtually no cigarettes were fire-safe.  Sadly, there has  been limited success at limiting firearm and overdose deaths as injury prevention remains a step-child in the health field, with funding not nearly commensurate to the size of the problem.  Training in effective advocacy has been proposed both to help attract funding and to reduce injuries.  The article, “Building the injury field in North America: the perspective of some of the pioneers” by David Hemenway appears in Injury Epidemiology 2018 5:47.

December 20, 2018 

Only 20% of suicide attempts in gun owning households are with firearms, but 75% of their suicides are firearm suicides.   

This article combines six known “facts” about suicide (e.g., households with firearms are at approximately 3 times the risk of suicide as households without firearms) to reach six estimates not currently available in the literature on suicide and guns such as:  gun-owning households account for about 90% of all firearm suicides; some 75% of their suicides are firearm suicides but only 20% of their suicide attempts are with firearms.  Among non-owning households, only 1% of their suicide attempts are with firearms, but firearms account for 10% of their suicides.  The reasonableness of these results provide support for the reasonableness of the half-dozen known “facts’ about firearms and suicide.  The article, “Comparing gun-owning vs non-owning households in terms of firearm and non-firearm suicide and suicide attempts” appears in Preventive Medicine 2018 epub ahead of publication.

December 10, 2018 

HICRC creates an injury prevention class exercise focusing on preventing firearm violence  

An article describing a classroom exercise specifically designed for public health students interested in injury prevention appears in the journal Injury Prevention.  The suggested exercise forces students to recognize and devise many policy and programmatic options over and above the ones that are normally discussed.  Most important, it helps give students a better understanding of what is meant by, and the potential usefulness of, the public health approach to injury prevention.  Examples in the article all deal with preventing firearm injury.   The article, “Injury prevention class exercise: three-pronged list making” by David Hemenway appears in Injury Prevention epub ahead of publication.

October 10, 2018 

States with more guns have higher rates of fatal police shootings  

US states with high levels of household gun ownership have higher rates of fatal shootings of civilians by police, even after adjusting for rates of violent crime, poverty, urbanization and racial composition.  The relationship between gun levels and police killings was strongest for rates of police shootings of victims who were armed with guns.  The rate of fatal police shootings in the high-gun states was 3.6 times greater than in the low gun states.  The National Institute of Justice funded article, “Variation in rates of fatal police shootings across US states: the role of firearm availability by David Hemenway, Deborah Azrael, Andrew Conner and Matthew Miller appears in the Journal of Urban Health 2019 96:63-73.

August 12, 2018 

4.6 million US children live in homes with a loaded and unlocked firearm   

Data from the HICRC 2015 National Firearm Survey show that in 21% of gun owning households with children, at least one gun is stored loaded and unlocked.  This is a far higher number of children exposed to unsafe storage than reported at the beginning of this century. The article, “Firearm storage in gun-owning households with children: results of a 2015 survey” by Deborah Azrael, Matthew Miller and others appears in the Journal of Urban Health epub ahead of publication.

June 2, 2018 

One third of Veterans store their guns loaded and unlocked  

Even though US Veterans are at high risk for firearm suicide, data from the HICRC 2015 National Firearm Survey show that 1 in 3 US Veteran firearm owners store a household firearm loaded and unlocked.  Storage is similar among those with and without self-reported suicide risk factors. Veterans who own more guns, own guns for protection, and carry guns are more likely than others to store guns loaded and unlocked.  These results are discussed in two articles: “Firearm storage practices, risk perceptions, and planned suicide prevention actions among veteran gun owners with and without self-harm risk factors” by Joseph Simonetti, Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller appears in Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, 2018, epub ahead of publication, and “Firearm storage practices among American veterans” by Joseph Simonetti, Deborah Azrael, Ali Rowhari-Rahbar, and Matthew Miller appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2018. epub ahead of publication.

May 31, 2018 

Why People Die Before They Expect To   

David Hemenway and his son Brett, a mathematician at the University of Pennsylvania, published their first article together on the simple fact that your (conditional) life expectancy is always positive when you die.  Indeed, using life expectancy tables, the average additional expected lifespan at the time of death in the US is close to 12 years.  In some countries, the average number of years remaining at the time of death may be more than the average expected lifespan at time of birth!  The article, “Why People Die Before They Expect To” by Brett and David Hemenway appears in Mathematics Magazine 2018; 91:171-81.

May 23, 2018 

About 1 million Americans become new gun owners each year.   

Using data from the HICRC sponsored National Firearms Survey, we examined differences between new and long-standing gun  owners.  New owners are younger, own fewer guns, are more likely to own guns solely for protection, but fortunately, are also more likely to store their guns safely.  The article, “Differences between new and long-standing gun owners” by Joseph Wertz, Deborah Azrael, David Hemenway, Susan Sorenson, and Matthew Miller appears in the American Journal of Public Health, online first.

May 22, 2018 

Hemenway wins HSPH Inaugural Community Engagement Award.  

David Hemenway received the Harvard Chan Student Association’s inaugural Community Engagement Award which recognizes faculty, researchers or staff who have served as a source of inspiration by demonstrating a commitment to improving health and well-being in the communities where they work.

April 3, 2018 

Hemenway wins public health leadership award.  

 David Hemenway gave a talk at Brookline Public Library and received the 19th Annual Alan Balsam Public Health Leadership Award from the Friends of Brookline Public Health for his outstanding leadership in public health.

March 1, 2018 

HICRC hosts two outstanding injury experts this Spring as Visiting Scientists 

Marcelo Justus (dos Santos), a PhD economist from Brazil is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Economics in the University of Campinas (Unicamp).  An expert on statistical analysis, he has written widely on issues related to crime and violence.  He is currently investigating the relationship between gun availability and homicide across Brazilian states and over time, as well as the effect of Brazil’s major disarmament legislation.

Vivian Lyons is writing her PhD dissertation on guns and violence at the University of Washington, where she works at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.  Winner of numerous awards, she has already written a number of journal articles on firearms with us.  While visiting HICRC, she is working on issues related to firearm storage.

February 27, 2018 

The importance of good data systems 

In an essay in a statistical journal, David Hemenway highlights the important of data systems (i.e., data collected consistently and comparably across sites and over time), provides examples of the need to recognize the current limitations of each system (e.g., NVDRS) along with the importance to keep improving them, and bemoans the lack of both data and funding for the analysis of firearm issues.  The article “Firearms data, and an ode to data systems” appeared in February 2018 volume of Chance (American Statistical Association).

February 21, 2018 

Firearm storage in homes with children at risk for self-home 

Using data from the HICRC-sponsored National Firearms Survey of close to four thousands adults, HICRC researchers found that millions of US children live in homes in which firearms are left loaded or unlocked or both.  A child’s history of depression or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder does not appreciably influence parental decisions about whether to have firearms in the home or to store the firearms safely. The article “Firearm storage in homes with children with self-harm risk factors” by John Scott, Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller was published in Pediatrics

January 20, 2018 

Commentary on the effects of home guns on adolescent depression 

A large longitudinal cohort study of adolescents by Kim in Social Science & Medicine found that gaining easy access to a firearm in the home was associated with increased depression among girls and increased fear in schools.  In a Commentary, David Hemenway discussed many relevant studies (e.g., a meta-analysis of 78 studies found that the mere presence of weapons increases aggressive thought, hostile appraisals and actual aggression.  He concluded: “My hope is that Kim’s 2018 study of the psychological effects of gun ownership will be a seminal investigation, leading to increased interest in the psychological effects–both positive and negative–of firearms on all members of the household, as well as members of the surrounding community.”  The commentary, “Easy home gun access and adolescent depression” was published in Social Science & Medicine. 

December 20, 2017 

Few urban Mexican homes contain firearms 

Data from a 2017 household telephone survey of over 1,300 adults living in nine Mexican cities found that only 3% of homes contain firearms.  Most  individuals who report owning firearms possess only one gun, having purchased it recently for self-defense.  Respondents were much more likely to believe that crime in Mexico would increase rather than decrease if guns were allowed in more places.  The article “What is the level of household gun ownership in urban Mexico? An estimate from the first Mexican survey on gun ownership 2017” by David Perez Esparza and David Hemenway appeared in Injury Prevention, online first. 

December 19, 2017 

Most veterans do not own firearms 

Using data from the HICRC sponsored National Firearms Survey, which oversampled US veterans, researchers provided detailed, nationally representative information on firearm ownership among US veterans.  About 47% of male veterans and 24% of female veterans own firearms.  Over 63% report that protection as a primary reason for firearm ownership.  The article “Firearm ownership among American veterans: findings from the 2015 National Firearm Survey” by Cleveland, Azrael, Simonetti and Miller was published in appears in Injury Epidemiology. 

November  10, 2017 

Lessons learned from generating Boston’s first report on bicycle injuries

HICRC’s Dahianna Lopez worked with the Boston Police Department, with help from bicycle advocates, to produce Bostn’s first cyclist safety report.  The report highlighted issues and areas where polices could help, and the city responded–furnishing taxis with stickers to prevent ‘dooring,’ adding pavement markings at trolley tracks to decrease the likelihood that cyclists would get their wheels lodged in the tracks, and targeting particular intersections for increased enforcement.  The article “Generating a city’s first report on bicyclist safety: lessons from the field” by Dahianna Lopez and David Hemenway was published in the journal Injury Prevention.

October 24, 2017 

Few Americans understand that a gun in the home increases the risk of completed suicide

While the overwhelming majority of firearms researchers and suicide experts agree that a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide, that knowledge has yet to reach the general population.  HICRC’s national firearm survey finds that only 15% of Americans agree that the presence of a firearm in the home increases the risk for suicide, and only 30% of health care practitioners agree.  Clearly more education about the scientific findings is needed.  The article “Public opinion about the relationship between firearm availability and suicide: results from a national survey” by Andrew Conner, Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller appears as a brief research report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

October 19, 2017 

Approximately 9 million Americans carry loaded handguns monthly

HICRC’s national firearm survey finds that 24% of handgun owners report carrying loaded handguns in the past 30 days.  Handgun owners living in “shall issue” states were far more likely to report carrying than gun owners living in “may issue” states.  The article “Loaded handgun carrying among US adults, 2015” by Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, Deborah Azrael, Vivian Lyons, Joseph Simonetti, and Matthew Miller appears in the American Journal of Public Health, online ahead of print.

October 10, 2017 

What is actually taught in basic firearm training classes? 

In the first study of its kind, volunteers audited twenty basic firearm classes in the Northeastern US.  While most trainers cover many aspects of firearm safety, very few discuss important public health issues such as guns and suicide, gun theft as a major source of illegal guns, using guns in self-defense only as a last resort, techniques for de-esclating threats, or provide data on home invasions, gun accidents, sexual assaults or homicides.  We believe that collaboration between public health experts and firearm trainers could lead to additional information being provided to trainees to increase firearm safety.  The article, “Firearms training: what is actually taught?” by David Hemenway, Steven Rausher, Pina Violano, Toby A. Raybould, and Catherine Barber, appears online in Injury Prevention.

October 8, 2017 

Among gun owners, nationally 61% have received formal firearms training 

HICRC’s national survey of gun owners finds that 61% report having ever received formal firearms training.   In the New England region, over 78% have received formal training.  Gun owners in the three southern regions (South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central) are least likely to have received formal training.  The training content seems to vary widely.  Only 15% of gun owners report receiving any information about suicide prevention.  The article, “Formal firearm training among adults in the USA: results from a national survey” by Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, Vivian Lyons, Joseph Simonetti, Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller appears online in Injury Prevention.

August 16, 2017 

Private Guns Public Health republished with a new preface 

The University of Michigan Press (2017) has just released a new copy of David Hemenway’s book on firearms and public health which was originally published in 2004.  It has a new cover, and a new Preface that summarizes important events and research articles from the past decade, and includes the 2006 Afterward that described the research findings from 2004-2006.  Private Guns Public Health describes the public health approach to gun violence prevention, and summarizes the scientific literature on most important gun issues, from self-defense to suicide.

June 26, 2017 

Public Opinion on Selling Guns to a Stranger without a Background Check 

One way that guns get into the wrong hands is via gun sales without a background check.  Using data from a nationally representative on-line survey conducted in 2015, HICRC’s David Hemenway, Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller find that 72% of American adults agree with the statement that “whether it is legal or not, it is NOT acceptable to sell a gun to a stranger without a background check”; 11% disagree.  Subgroups less likely to agree are young adults, men, conservatives, those with less than a high school education, and gun owners.  Still, most Americans, including 64% of gun owners believe that selling a gun to a stranger without a background check is unacceptable behavior.   The article appears online first in the journal Injury Prevention.

June 15, 2017 

David Hemenway discusses the lack of data and funding for firearms research

In “Fighting the silencing of gun research” in the journal Nature, David Hemenway argues that as anti-science sentiment sweeps the world, it is vital to stop the suppression of firearms studies.  “The attempt to muzzle research requires constant push-back.  I am always shocked to remember how recent the Enlightenment was, and how fragile is the freedom to be able to make careers out of the search for truth.”

June 14, 2017 

Catherine Barber wins Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.   

In June, Cathy Barber was the sole recipient of the prestigious lifetime achievement award from the nation’s largest non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to suicide prevention.  This is such a tribute to Cathy and recognition for her innovative work helping public health and gun advocates work together to reduce suicide.  Previous winners of the award include Senate Harry Reid, legislative champion for suicide prevention funding.  Another month and another significant award for our Cathy!

May 3, 2017 

Catherine Barber wins annual Sarah K Wood award for Outstanding Performance at HSPH 

Cathy Barber of HICRC was the recipient of a prestigious HSPH award, established to recognize each year a single individual who has provided many years of exceptional service to Harvard.   Cathy originally came to HSPH to found what is now CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System.  She stayed to found the Means Matter campaign, which has eliminated the notion that firearms are too controversial a topic for those working on suicide prevention to address.  She helped co-found the New Hampshire Gun Shop Project, a collaboration between public health experts and firearm experts to education gun retailers and their customers about ways to reduce suicide.  She has been working effectively with gun advocates, gun ranges, gun shops, and gun trainers, helping to find common ground with public health practitioners to reduce gun suicide.  Yea Cathy!

April 21, 2017 

Public Opinion on Carrying Firearms in Public Places 

Using data from a nationally representative on-line survey conducted in 2015, authors Julia Wolfson and Stephen Teret from Johns Hopkins and HICRC’s Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller examined US public opinion about the public places where legal gun owners should be allowed to carry firearms.  Fewer than 20% of respondents supported gun carrying in schools, bars or sports stadiums.  In no location, including restaurants, service settings, retail stores, college campuses, places of worship, and government buildings, did even a third of Americans support gun carrying.  These views contrast sharply with the current trend in state legislatures to expand the locations where individuals can legally carry guns.  The article appears online in the American Journal of Public Health.

April 12, 2017 

HICRC New England Journal of Medicine Perspective on Florida’s Physician Gag Rule Decision 

A NEJM Perspective describes the long-awaited US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit 10-1 decision that affirmed that the First Amendment applies to speech between doctors and patients.  The court found no evidence “that routine questions to patients about the ownership of firearms are medically inappropriate, ethically problematic, or practically ineffective.”  “We expect doctors to doggedly exhort unhealthy patients to exercise more, eat less, or stop smoking, even when such admonishments may ‘annoy persistently.’” The evidence show that a gun in the home substantially increases the risk of death to household members and that the majority of Americans are unaware of the heightened risk.  Currently, most clinicians rarely if ever provide firearm-safety counseling.  The Court ruled such counseling eminently legal.  Now more physicians have to provide (scientifically based) advice about firearms.  The Perspective was written by lawyers Wendy Parmet and Jason Smith, and HICRC co-director Matthew Miller.

April 11, 2017 

HICRC article on the epidemiology of gun theft victimization 

Using data from a nationally representative on-line survey conducted in 2015, authors David Hemenway, Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller examine the demographic and behavioral characteristics of gun owners who report having had one or more guns stolen in the previous five years.  Of over 1600 gun owners, 2.4% reported having a gun stolen, with a mean number of guns lost per theft of 1.5.  The authors estimate that this represents approximately 250,000 guns theft incidents annually in the US, with about 380,000 total guns stolen.  Certain types of gun owners–who own many guns, who carry guns, and who do not store guns safety–are at higher risk of having guns stolen.  Of the four US regions, the South, which is home to 37% of US households, accounts for two-thirds of guns stolen.  Even though gun theft is a common way that guns get into criminal hands, this study appears to be the first journal article to focus on the epidemiology of gun theft from private citizens. The article appears online in the journal Injury Epidemiology.

March 1, 2017 

HICRC hosts two outstanding injury experts, on sabbatical this Spring, as Visiting Scientists 

Roderick McClure, an Australian physician (MBBS) and injury epidemiologist (PhD) is one of the outstanding professionals in the injury prevention field.  He started the Monash injury center in Australia, and was a full professor at Griffith University and Monash University, and Professor Extraordinarius at the University of South Africa.  Rod has just finished a couple of years as a senior manager at CDC’s injury center.  He will stay at HICRC for a month, then will leave for Australia where he will become Dean at the University of New England (Australia).

Mary Fan, a graduate of Yale Law School and currently the Henry M. Jackson Professor of Law at the University of Washington in Seattle, will be at HICRC for 3 months.  She is Core Faculty at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle.  A former US Attorney prosecuting criminal cases, Mary is currently working toward a PhD in epidemiology.  At HICRC she will work on her book focusing on police body cameras.

February 21, 2017 

HICRC article on the epidemiology of homicide perpetration by children 

Using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, authors David Hemenway and Sara Solnick examine homicides by children aged 0-14. Nearly 90% of the perpetrators were boys, over 90% were aged 11-14, and most use guns.  The authors created five categories which accounted for over 70% of the events.  These categories include: (1) the Caretaker, a juvenile, often an older brother, is given the responsibility of caring for an infant.  The homicide typically occurred in the residence and blunt force is used (no guns); (2) Impulsive shooting during play, in which the child typically shoots a sibling or friend.  Except for some notation of momentary anger, these cases look much like unintentional firearm fatalities; (3) Robbery, a group of youth are trying to steal money, usually from an adult; (4) Group assault, a group of youth are fighting, usually with other youth; (5) Killing an adult family member,  typically a parent or grandparent.  Creating a typology of events is useful both for understanding the problem and determining solutions. The article appears online in the journal Injury Epidemiology.

January 4, 2017 

HICRC article estimates that over 20% of firearm acquisitions in the past 2 years had no background check 

Using data from a HICRC sponsored nationally representative survey of more than 1600 firearm owners, authors Matthew Miller, Lisa Hepburn and Deborah Azrael find that 22% of gun owners who reported obtaining their most recent firearm in the previous two years reported doing so without a background check.  For firearms purchased privately, 50% were obtained without a background check (with an even higher percentage for gun owners living in states that do not regulate private firearm sales).  The article appeared in Annals of Internal Medicine, with an accompanying editorial by Philip Cook of Duke University entitled “At last, a good estimate of the magnitude of the private-sale loophole for firearms.”

December 3, 2016 

David Hemenway receives 3rd Annual Pioneer Award from the Injury Free Coalition for Kids

At the 21st annual meeting of the Injury Free Coalition for Kids held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, David Hemenway received the Pioneer Award “for his leadership and exemplary career in injury prevention.”  He also gave the keynote speech, entitled “A Half Century of Injury Prevention Research: Personal Reflections.”  The two previous award winners were Susan Baker (Johns-Hopkins) and Fred Rivara (Harborview).

November 15, 2016 

HICRC Viewpoint on Reducing Suicide by Working with Gun Owner Groups

An article published ahead of press in the journal JAMA-Internal Medicine entitled “Reducing Suicides Through Partnerships Between Health Professionals and Gun Owner Groups–Beyond Docs vs Glocks” describes the work HICRC has done over the past decade in finding common ground with gun owners to reduce firearm suicide.  Gun owner groups are seen as part of the solution rather than part of the problem of suicide in America.  Suicide is a gun owner’s issue–gun owning families are at higher risk for suicide.  Partnerships among gun shop owners, firearm instructors, gun rights stakeholders and health professionals help to change social norms about guns and suicide, and can save lives.  The article, which recently appeared online, was written by Cathy Barber and Elaine Frank, along with gunshop owner Ralph Demicco, all members of the New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition.

October 14, 2016 

HICRC Monthly Survey Results of Firearm Researchers published in Injury Prevention 

An article published ahead of press in the journal Injury Prevention  entitled “The Scientific Agreement on Firearm Issues” describes the scientific consensus among firearm researchers on many gun issues.  Results of short monthly polls show agreement that more guns and weak gun laws cause serious public health problems, that the costs of gun availability are typically greater than the benefits, and that stronger gun laws may improve public safety and health.  84% of researchers agreed and only 8% disagreed with the statement “in the United States, having a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide.”  The surveys provide information about agreement or lack of agreement on specific issues and about the quality of the scientific evidence.  The article, which recently appeared online, was written by David Hemenway and Elizabeth P. Nolan.

June 29, 2016 

HICRC American Journal of Medicine commentary on reducing suicide 

An AJM (“the green journal”) commentary entitled “How Physicians Can Reduce Suicide–Without Changing Anyone’s Mental Health” describes effective ways physicians and others who see people in crisis can reduce suicide.  The commentary describes how many major successes in suicide prevention focused on reducing access to the lethal means of suicide rather than on solving mental health problems.  In the United States, while 1% of suicide attempts are with guns, half of completed suicides are gun suicides.  The commentary provides information on how physicians and others can help change social norms and reduce suicide by communicating this message: putting time and distance between a suicidal person and a gun can save a life.  The commentary, which recently appeared online, was written by Cathy Barber,David Hemenway and Matthew Miller.

June 16, 2016 

HICRC New England Journal of Medicine Perspective on “Docs v Glocks” 

A NEJM Perspective on the case of Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida describes the issues at stake in the upcoming decision concerning a Florida law which regulates physician’ speech concerning patients’ gun ownership.  Basically, the full court can “jeopardize physicians’ ability to counsel patients about the importance of gun safety and potentially other important issues, or it can safeguard physicians’ ability to speak truthfully to patients, without compromising the state’s ability to regulate the practice of medicine.” The Perspective, which appeared online today, was written by lawyers Wendy Parmet and Jason Smith, and HICRC co-director Matthew Miller.

March 18, 2016 

HICRC article wins award for the best article of 2015 in the journal Injury Epidemiology 

An article by David Hemenway and Sara Solnick entitled “Children and Unintentional Firearm Death” won the annual Jess Krauss award voted by the editors as the best article in the new journal, Injury Epidemiology.  Using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, the article showed that the large majority of children aged 0-14 who were killed unintentionally by firearms were shot by other young children or by themselves.  While most children are shot by another, victims aged 2-4 usually shoot themselves.  And while many boys aged 11-14 are shot unintentionally at a friends house, this is not the case for girls, nor for children aged 10 and under.  Such disaggregate information can be crucial for sensible prevention efforts.

March 14, 2016 

Finding Common Ground:  Public health and gun advocates working together to reduce suicide 

Cathy Barber, Elaine Frank and other public health experts have been working for the past few years with gun store owners, gun advocates and others to reduce suicide.  To understand this effective partnership, a good place to start is to listen to a Spark Talk on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center website.

February 14, 2016 

MarieClaire.com and HICRC partner on a national survey of women’s relationship with guns 

Among the many findings from the survey are that 12% of women are gun owners and 74% of women think that men and women have different mindsets about guns.  Only 20% of women think a gun in the home makes it a safer place, and by a 62% to 8% margin, women believe that laws governing gun sales should be more strict rather than less strict.  The MarieClaire website also contains fascinating interviews with ten women (including Hilary Clinton and Carly Fiorina) about their involvement and views about guns.   http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a18016/women-and-guns/.

January 13, 2016 

The US gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than that of the other advanced nations 

An article in the American Journal of Medicine by HSPH graduate Erin Richardson Grinshteyn (Assistant Professor, University of Nevada-Reno) and David Hemenway compares the US violent death rate for 2010 with that of the other two dozen high-income countries (e.g., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom).  They find that the overall firearm death rate in the US from all causes is 10 times higher than the rates for these other advanced nations.  Ninety percent of women from advanced countries who were killed with guns are from the United States.  Compared to these other advanced countries, the US has more guns, weaker gun laws, and a much higher rate of gun death.

October 15, 2015 

Over 100 children (aged 0-14) killed unintentionally with guns each year 

An article in the journal Injury Epidemiology by David Hemenway and HSPH graduate Sara Solnick (Professor at the University of Vermont), finds that the Vital Statistics data (e.g., WISQARS) underestimates the number of US children killed unintentionally with firearms (often reporting accidental shootings as homicides).  Using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, Hemenway & Solnick find that of the 100 or more cases each year, in about 1/3 of the instances the child unintentionally shot himself, and in 1/3 the child was shot by another child (usually a brother or friend).  In half of the remaining case the child was accidentally shot by a parent (i.e., the dad).  These cases represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of accidental shootings as there are far more non-fatal shootings than deaths.

August 14, 2015 

Law Enforcement Officers more likely to be killed in states with more guns 

An article by former HSPH occupational health post-doctoral fellow  David Swedler and HSPH faculty Francesca Dominici and David Hemenway in the American Journal of Public Health found that LEO homicide rates were three times higher in states with high firearm ownership rates compared with states with low firearm ownership.  The article examined the 782 LEO homicides (92% by firearms) from 1996-2010 and found that rates of firearm ownership was the best predictor of the varying levels of LEO homicide victimization.  Results controlled for the main factor likely to affect LEO homicides (violent crime rates) as well as many factors expected to affect homicide rates in the general population.  Higher levels of private firearm ownership appear to increase the frequency with which officers faceed potentially life-threatening situations (e.g., domestic violence calls).

June 15, 2015 

HICRC wins paper of the year award  

The journal Injury Epidemiology announced their inaugural award for paper of the year, which was won by HSPH doctoral student April Opoliner, with co-authors Deborah Azrael, Catherine Barber, Garrett Fitzmaurice, and senior author Matthew Miller for their article “Explaining geographic patterns of suicide in the US: the role of firearms and antidepressants.”  This ecologic study across both states and counties for 2001-2005 found a strong relationship between household gun ownership levels and rates of firearm suicide and overall suicide.  There was no association between rates of antidepressant use and suicide.  Congratulations to all!

May 15, 2015 

HICRC wins award for suicide prevention activities  

In May, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (greater Boston chapter) gave its 2015 Lifesaver Leadership Award to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center for its Means Matter Campaign.  The plaque reads “For promoting activities that reduce a suicidal person’s access to lethal means of suicide.”  Special congratulations to Cathy, Deb, Matt, Elaine and Mary.

May 1, 2015 

Self-defense gun use article

Data come from the National Crime Victimization Survey 2007-2011.  Self-defense gun use occurred in fewer than 1% of all contact crimes reported.  Males and rural dwellers were most likely to use a gun in self-defense.  Self-defense gun use was not associated with a reduced risk of victim injury.  Self-defense with any weapon was associated with a reduced risk of property loss.  Hemenway D, Solnick SJ. The epidemiology of self-defense gun use: evidence from the National Crime Victimization Surveys 2007-2011. Preventive Medicine (available on-line).  In August 2015 the LA Times published an op-ed by David Hemenway discussing these results.

April 28, 2015 

Who should be given a carry permit?  Survey of police in a may-issue state.

For public safety, whom would you like to decide who can legally carry a concealed firearm–a federal computer or your local police chief?  We conducted a survey of police chiefs in a “may-issue” state, one of the few where the local police chief still has discretion concerning the issuance of a permit.  The median annual number of permits denied for discretionary reasons by the local police chief was 2.  A common reason for discretionary denial was frequent 911 calls to the residence for domestic violence and alcohol abuse.   Even though such individuals had never been convicted of a felony, the chiefs believed the public was better served if he was not carrying a firearm.   Hemenway D, Hicks JG. May issue gun carrying laws and police discretion: Some evidence from Massachusetts. Journal of Public Health Policy. (available on line).

April 22 2015 

LA Times Op-ed discusses our firearm researcher surveys

This article discusses the rationale and findings from our monthly surveys of scientists who have recently published articles in peer reviewed journals on firearms.  “Scientific consensus isn’t always right, but it’s our best guide to understanding the world.  Can reporters please stop pretending that scientists, like politicians, are evenly divided on guns?  We’re not.”   http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-hemenway-guns-20150423-story.html.

April 2, 2015 

Rolling Stone Magazine publicizes results of our firearm researcher survey.               

Results posted on our website (“Firearm Researcher Surveys”)  were highlighted by Rolling Stone in an article provocatively entitled “New Harvard Research Debunks the NRA’s Favorite Talking Points.”  The article reports the main results of our first nine surveys, for example that 5% of respondents think having a gun in the house makes it safer while 64% think it makes it a more dangerous place to be.”  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/gun-research-harvard-nra.

October 28, 2014

Collaboration between firearm retailers and public health experts to reduce suicide.                                                                 

Firearm retailers and firearm rights advocates worked with suicide prevention experts–including HICRC’s Mary Vriniotis and Cathy Barber–to help gun dealers take an active role in reducing suicide.  Materials were created for both gun dealers (providing tips to reduce the odds of selling a firearm to someone who is suicidal) and for their customers (encouraging customers to consider off-site storage if someone at home may be suicidal).  Close to half of firearms retailers in New Hampshire are currently displaying some of these  suicidal prevention materials.  The study reporting the findings was published online today in Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, with Vriniotis as lead author.

October 15, 2014

Mass Public Shootings have tripled since 2011.                                  

HICRC researchers Amy P. Cohen, Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller reported in Mother Jones that the United States has entered a new period in which mass shootings in public places are occurring more frequently.   Using a Statistical Process Control method developed for industry when events are relatively rare, the HICRC researchers found that between 1982-2011, mass shootings occurred every 200 days on average; from 2011-2014, they have been occurring every 64 days.  Those claiming that the rate of mass shootings has not changed inappropriately include intimate partner homicides in private homes in their data http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/mass-shootings-increasing-harvard-research.  See also Deb Azrael interview On the Media October 31, 2014 http://www.onthemedia.org/story/dreary-mythbuster/.

June 19, 2014

Monthly Survey of Gun Researchers                                                    

HICRC has begun sponsoring very short monthly surveys of gun researchers.  The first survey found that a large majority agreed with the statement “In the United States, having a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide.”  The second survey found that a sizable majority disagreed with the statement “In the United States, guns are used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime.” Detailed results of each survey are posted on this website under Firearm Researcher Surveys.

June 18, 2014

Boston Bicycle Crash Map Released                                                    

HICRC’s own Dahianna Lopez has been a driving force in working with multiple agencies to assemble a useful database of bicycle crashes in Boston.  A comprehensive report was released this spring, and a map of crash sites has just been released to the public http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2014/06/18/bike-crash-map-boston-data/.  Such a cutting edge database, which includes what the weather was like during the incident, is available in few other cities.  Dahianna is writing her dissertation on bicycle and pedestrian injuries.

June 14, 2014

Harvard Article on HICRC’s Suicide Research Wins Award     

Madeline Drexler, editor of Harvard Public Health, wrote an excellent article last year on “Guns and Suicide: The Hidden Toll” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine-features/guns-and-suicide-the-hidden-toll/ which highlighted the research, dissemination and translation activities of HICRC.  That article just won the Grand Gold award from the Council for the Advancement & Support of Education, beating out 73 other entries.

April 2, 2014

Visiting Suicide Scholar from Hong Kong
Dr. Sylvia Kwok, Associate Professor of Applied Social Sciences at the City University of Hong Kong, joined HICRC for three days.  Dr. Kwok’s research focus is on the use of positive psychology to reduce depression, anxiety and suicidality among children and adolescents.  At HICRC, she presented findings from her most recent interventions in Hong Kong schools.

February 3, 2014

Report to Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Gun Violence
An 8-person advisory committee to Speaker DeLeo issued their report listening 44 recommendations to reduce firearm violence in the Commonwealth.  The committee included police, a criminal defense attorney, mental health experts,  and academics, including David Hemenway.  Four of the members have concealed carry permits.  All of the recommendations were approved unanimously.  They included background checks for all gun transfers, suitability standards for firearm identification cards, firearm safety training to include live fire and a module on suicide, tax credits for the purchase of a gun safe, and increased funding for diversion programs for juvenile offenders.

January 20, 2014

A gun in the home increases the risk of suicide
An editorial (“Guns, Suicide, and Homicide: Individual-Level vs Population-Level Studies”) in the Annals of Internal Medicine discusses the findings of a meta-analysis of case-control studies that concludes that having a gun in the home substantially increases the risk of completed suicide.  In the editorial, David Hemenway comments that the ecological studies are equally compelling and reach the same conclusion.  The meta-analysis of case-control studies on guns in the home and homicide show a stronger relationship with female than with male victimization.  This is because while women are often shot by their partners, most men are murdered not with a gun in the home, but outside the home by other men using their own guns.

December  7, 2013

More guns in cities means more gun suicide, more total suicide
An article in Injury Prevention by Matthew Miller and other HICRC researchers finds that across metropolitan areas, higher rates of firearm ownership are strongly associated with higher rates of firearm suicide and overall suicide, but not with non-firearm suicide.  Prior ecological studies had usually focused on states and regions–also supporting the more guns-more suicide hypothesis.  Results are consistent with the dozen or more case control studies that find a gun in the home is a risk factor for suicide.

November 7, 2013

Dahianna Lopez honored by the Boston Police Department
For her work in helping to create the first city-wide report on bicycle safety and bicycle crashes for the city of Boston, Dahianna received a Commissioner’s Commendation “in recognition for exemplary police services to the people of Boston.  Your efforts have improved public safety and the quality of like in our city.”

November 7, 2013

HICRC Injury Seminar.  Peter Donnelly, Professor of Public Health Policy at St. Andrews University, Scotland will speak on the “Public Health Approach to Violence Prevention.”  All welcome.

Thursday 12:30-1:20.  Room 502 Kresge

May 30, 2013

Dahianna Lopez works to create first Boston bicycle safety report
To solve a problem we need to know what is going on.  University-wide Health Policy PhD student Dahianna Lopez–who worked at the San Francisco injury center and is now with HICRC–in collaboration with the Boston Police Department (BPD) and the Boston Cyclists Union, analyzed the narratives of all BPD bicycle crash reports.  Boston Mayor Thomas Menino released the report in mid-May.  Unlike shootings, bike crashes occur throughout the city, and especially on major thoroughfares.  Taxi cabs (e.g., doorings) are a major hazard.  Road changes in certain locations can dramatically reduce the risk.  Dahianna was funded by the Boston Area Research Initiative.
Dahianna will be spending the summer in Denver working as a Summer Transportation intern for the US Department of Transportation.

May 17, 2013

Matt Miller wins HSPH mentoring award
Matthew Miller, co-director of HICRC won the school-wide award as the best mentor at Harvard School of Public Health.  Suicide is the leading cause of injury death in the United States and Matt teaches a course on suicide prevention, one of the only suicide courses taught at a public health school.  He also teaches an undergraduate course on international violence prevention. Matt is a teacher who really cares about his students.  Congratulations Matt!!

April 23, 2013

Preventing gun violence by changing social norms
David Hemenway has a Viewpoint in JAMA- Internal Medicine  that describes many social norms that can be changed to reduce gun violence, with examples of relevant successes from other areas.

April 15, 2013

Public health approach to the prevention of gun violence
David Hemenway and Matthew Miller have a Sounding Board article in the New England Journal of Medicine that describes the public health approach with respect to gun violence.  It emphasizes that manufacturers and distributors of firearms could do much more than currently to reduce our large public health problem.

April 10, 2013

Responding to the Newtown Tragedy
The tragic shooting in Newtown brought unprecedented demand for information about firearms.  We have appeared on TV and radio programs around the world (e.g., Brazil, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and the Arab world) and U.S. stations with broad syndication (e.g., MSNBC-TV, CNN, CSPAN, NBC Nightly News, PBS, and National Public Radio’s “On Point,” “Talk of the Nation,” “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.” We have been interviewed and provided background information and guidance to reporters from scores of publications, including webnews outlets such a ProPublica and the Huffington Post, fact-checking organizations, and prominent bloggers.  We have been quoted in national, city and college newspapers, have given presentations at national, state and local symposia, helped fledgling groups, and written policy articles.  We have helped inform the New York Times editorial board and provided input to National Public Radio’s coverage of firearm violence.

March 1, 2013

States with stronger firearm laws have fewer gun deaths
Researchers at Boston Children’s hospital and David Hemenway have a study in JAMA-Internal Medicine that finds that states with more firearm laws have lower rates of firearm suicide and firearm homicide.  Eric Fleegler is lead author.

January 30, 2013

Curbing gun violence: lessons from public health successes
HSPH faculty, including David Hemenway have an opinion piece in JAMA arguing that reductions in tobacco use and in child poisonings, and improvements in motor vehicle safety, provide lessons for firearm firearm violence reduction.

January 8, 2013

Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis
David Hemenway participated in a panel on gun violence at the Harvard School of Public Health on January 8th at 12:30. The event was broadcast webcast live, and available online. More information.


December 27, 2012

Newtown Tragedy
HICRC researchers have been hard at work sharing what is known about the effects of firearm availability in the US since the terrible tragedy in Newtown on December 14. David Hemenway was a guest on NPR’s “On Point” as well as on CNN radio, and was interviewed for USA Today. Matt Miller was interviewed for Wisconsin Public Radio on the Kathleen Dunn show on December 19th (you can search for the episode here) and also on CNN.

Additional HICRC/Newtown news: ABC Australia Al Jazeera Australian Popular Science Anniston Star Business Week FactCheck.org Forbes Harvard Business Review Harvard Gazette Huffington Post Kitsap Sun Minnesota Post MSNBC New York Times New Yorker Palm Beach Post Psychology Today Times-Standard Washington Post The World WBUR WGBH


October 16, 2012

HICRC Seminar Series:
Thursday October 25, 2012.  12:30-1:30.  Kresge Building (677 Huntington Avenue) Room 502.  “Honor-based Violence: Characteristics, Public Health Implications and Prevention”  Dr. Karl Roberts, Center for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism.  MacQuarie University, Sydney, Australia


October 15, 2012

New England Injury Conference
For practitioners and researchers. “Perspectives on Enhancing Injury Prevention Research and Practice.”  Wednesday October 24, 2012.  8:30-4:30  At the Education Development Center, 43 Foundry Avenue, in Waltham MA.  Only $50 ($25 for students) that includes lunch, coffee, parking, conference flash drive AND 7 CEUs.

To register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/injuryprevention_oct24reg.  Or email Garry Lapidus at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Glapidu@ccmckids.org.


September 15, 2012

Reducing Means Availability to Prevent Suicide
Two recent publications by MattMiller, with Deb Azrael and Cathy Barber summarize the importance of attending to method when trying to reduce suicide.

Matthew Miller, Deborah Azrael, Catherine Barber.  “Suicide Mortality in the United States: The Importance of Attending to Method in Understanding Population-Level Disparities in the Burden of Suicide”  Annual Review of Public Health, 2012: 33:393-408.

Matthew Miller.  “Preventing Suicide by Preventing Lethal Injury: The Need to Act on What We Already Know” American Journal of Public Health. 2012: 102Supp1:e1-3.


July 31, 2012

More on Aurora
David Hemenway spoke with Nicholas Kristof for his article in the New York Times. The NYT also highlighted a HICRC review on homicide. Additional HICRC/Aurora coverage here.


July 24, 2012

Commentary on Aurora tragedy
National Geographic’s science blog posted about the tragedy in Aurora last week, with comments from Matthew Miller.


July 2, 2012

David Hemenway selected as a CDC 20 for 20 Leader in Violence and Injury Prevention
In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, the Injury Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a “20 for 20 Project” which pays tribute “to 20 leaders and visionaries who have had a transformative effect on the field on violence and injury prevention.”  The 20 for 20 leaders, selected by a panel of their peers, includes five with connections to the Harvard School of Public Health.

(1)    William Haddon, Jr. MD, MPH (deceased, first director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission) and HSPH graduate

(2)    Etienne Krug, MD, MPH (Director, Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, World Health Organization) and HSPH graduate

(3)    Mark Rosenberg, MD, MPP, former director of the CDC injury center and former HSPH lecturer

(4)    Deborah Prothrow-Stith, MD,  Adjunct Professor of the Practice of Public Health at HSPH and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health, and

(5)    David Hemenway, PhD, Professor of Health Policy at HSPH, and Director of the Harvard Injury Control  Research Center.

CDC extends to these leaders “our warmest appreciation for their tireless work and dedication to making the world safer, healthier, and less violent.”


June 14, 2012

David Hemenway received Distinguished Honoree Award from Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
David Hemenway received the Distinguished Honoree Award at the 19th Anniversary Dinner of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence on June 14, 2012 in San Francisco “for his work exposing the complexities of the relationships between gun violence and self-defense, schools, homicide and more.  His research, teaching and writing have provided critical resources to the gun violence prevention movement and thus, to the effort to reduce death and injury due to firearms.”


April 16, 2012

David Hemenway interviewed on PolitiFact.com Joe Biden quote
David Hemenway was interviewed for a PolitiFact.com article on a Joe Biden quote on gun violence.  Read article here.


April 9, 2012

Washington ad campaign uses data from Private Guns, Public Health
A public health ad campaign “Know the facts” started by Washington Ceasefire, a group aiming to reduce gun violence in Washington state, uses data from David’s book.  Read more about the story here.


April 5, 2012

Dahianna Lopez interviewed by WBZ-TV on ‘Google Glasses’
HICRC’s Dahianna Lopez was interviewed by WBZ-TV (CBS) on the potential for injury while wearing ‘Google Glasses.’ Read the full report here.


April 4, 2012

David Hemenway speaks at ‘One Harvard: Lectures that Last’
David Hemenway was one of twelve speakers invited to speak at the inaugural ‘One Harvard: Lectures that Last’ series organized by the Harvard Graduate Council. Read more about this event here.


February 23, 2012

HICRC research cited in veteran suicide-related firearms risks article
HICRC research by Hemenway and Miller is cited in an article discussing the suicide-related risks of not allowing army commanders to question their troops about private firearms kept off base. Read article here.


December 22, 2011

While We were Sleeping recommended reading by Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader listed Hemenway’s book While We were Sleeping as one of his top holiday reading recommendations. He described the book as “an ode to brave legislators and regulators.” Read the rest of the review here.


November 22, 2011

Hemenway honored for work in youth violence prevention
Last week, David Hemenway was given the Striving for Justice award by Community Works, a collective of over 30 social justice organizations, for his work applying a public health approach to youth violence prevention. Read more.


October 24, 2011

The “Twinkie Defense”: teen soda drinking study causes stir
A new study conducted by David Hemenway and Sara Solnick (University of Vermont) has generated a flurry of attention in the media world-wide.  The study, published in Injury Prevention and citing data from our Boston Youth Survey, found a link between teen violence perpetration and high soft drink consumption.
Read the article abstract or purchase the full article here.
See below for selected news coverage:


September 22, 2011

Hemenway honored by local and national organizations
In November, David Hemenway will receive a “Striving for Justice” award from Massachusetts-based Community Works, a network of 34 local social justice organizations working towards long-term systemic change. David will also be the keynote speaker and honoree for the Legal Community Against Violence 19th Anniversary Dinner in June 2012 in San Francisco. Congrats David!


August 1, 2011

Matthew Miller selected by APHA for “Excellence in Science Award”
Congratulations to Dr. Miller for being selected by APHA’s Injury Control and Emergency Health Services (ICEHS) Section for this year’s Excellence in Science Award. This award recognizes an individual for outstanding dedication and leadership in the science of injury control and emergency health services, with contributions and achievements that have a significant and long term impact on the field.


June 8, 2011

Matthew Miller honored at Harvard School of Public Health
Congratulations to Dr. Miller, one of four faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health to receive a Teaching Citation at graduation this year, for his course on suicide prevention. Great work!


May 4, 2011

Primary vs. Secondary Seat Belt Laws
Our home state of Massachusetts is considering primary enforcement of its seat belt law, meaning a motorist can be pulled over for not wearing his/her seat belt, as opposed to only receiving a ticket for this violation if pulled over for another offense (known as “secondary” seat belt law enforcement). We find the scientific evidence quite convincing that moving from secondary to primary enforcement 1) increases seat belt use, and 2) reduces death and injury from motor vehicle crashes. Download a quick list of studies on this issue.


April 27, 2011

Bulletins: Australia’s Gun Buyback
It is our pleasure to present the fourth issue of Bulletins, our newsletter summarizing key topics within firearms research. This issue examines research concerning effects of the massive 1996 gun buyback in Australia, and finds reductions in homicide as well as suicide.
Download Issue 4: Australian Gun Buyback (PDF)
Sign up to receive alerts when a new issue of Bulletins is released


April 26, 2011

Risks vs. Benefits of a Gun in the Home
A literature review by David Hemenway, published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, finds that having a gun in the home poses greater health risks than benefits. This press release from the publisher includes (for a limited time) a link to the full article.


April 11, 2011

The Unintentional Injurer: A New Area of Exploration in Injury Research
A new study by David Hemenway and Sara Solnick examines those who cause unintentional injuries to others, and finds differences between those who cause sports-related vs. other injuries. This innovative study shows that other people can be involved in an unintentional injury and argues that injury researchers should begin to examine the role of the unintentional injurer. Read the abstract.


April 6, 2011

Depression and Suicide Attempts
At this year’s meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR), Mary Vriniotis presented work by Deb Azrael, Matt Miller, and Cathy Barber on Suicide Attempts among those with and without Major Depressive Disorder using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They found that of those who attempted suicide during the previous year and went through a mental health screening, 43% of people did not screen positive for a past year major depressive episode. This indicates that reliance on mental health screening may miss a significant portion of suicide attempts. Contact Deb Azrael for more information.


March 23, 2011

Minnesota Public Radio Op-Ed on Recent Gun Violence
This article features a quote from David Hemenway.


February 23, 2011

Editorial on Tucson Shootings in Arizona Daily Star
David Hemenway’s editorial can be found here.


January 25, 2011

New York Times Article on Firearms Research Cites HICRC’s Matthew Miller
Read article here.


January 13, 2011

Glass Fireplace Enclosures Burn Injuries Report
David Hemenway did an interview with 89.3 KPCC Southern California Public radio about glass fireplace enclosures burn risk.  Read article here.


January 12, 2011

Interview with David Hemenway in The New York Times re: Arizona Shootings
Read article here.


January 11, 2011

Boston Globe opinion piece on the shootings in Arizona mentions a recent HICRC study
Read article here.


January 11, 2011

Response to January 5th school shooting in Omaha, NE
David Hemenway was interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald in this response. Read article here.


January 10, 2011

Interviews re: shootings in Arizona
We at HICRC are deeply saddened by the tragedy in Arizona over the weekend. David Hemenway was interviewed by Rachel Gotbaum on Radio Boston today (WBUR)– listen here. Mary Vriniotis was interviewed on the Emily Rooney show (WGBH), which devoted the whole hour to the shootings- listen here (listen at 0:37 for Mary).


January 4, 2011

Most adolescent firearm suicides completed with parents’ guns
The December 2010 issue of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior contains a study led by Renee Johnson on the source of firearms in teen suicides. Looking at data on youth suicides from the National Violent Injury Statistics System (the pilot for CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System) 81% took place in the decedents’ homes, and of the cases where the firearm owner could be identified, most were owned by the parents. Read the abstract