Our AzPHA Policy Committee has been hard at work updating our existing Resolution on firearm injuries and deaths to prepare for the upcoming legislative session. 

From 2009 through 2013, Arizona had more than 5,500 suicides, 2,000 homicides and another almost 900 undetermined deaths- needless to say these deaths represent a tremendous public health challenge in Arizona. 

The social costs to the community and the overall quality of life for Arizona residents are adversely impacted by homicides and suicides in our communities. 

Among the resources that the team is using are the compilation of research papers and analytic essays on public health and firearms on the APHA website.  Firearm research is available now available to everybody (including non-members) regarding the effect of state legislation on firearm homicide, interventions to improve safe firearm storage, employer firearm policies and workplace homicide, public opinion on carry laws.

Also included is research on role firearms play in establishing homicide as a leading cause of death for pregnant and postpartum women, the urban-rural differences in firearm suicides, how law enforcement and firearm retailers can serve as partners in suicide prevention, loaded handgun carrying, the financial cost of firearm injury, among other subjects.

Violent death surveillance data are available from the CDC and their National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), which provides data to better understand violent deaths and to guide local decisions about efforts to prevent violence and track progress over time (the NVDRS is the only state-based reporting system that pools data on violent deaths from multiple sources into a usable, anonymous database).

The extensive data abstraction process collects information covering all settings, age groups and circumstances of violent deaths. The system gathers and collates information on violent deaths from: 1) State health department official death certificate data; 2) Medical Examiner reports at autopsy; and 3) Law enforcement investigation reports.