Gun Violence: A Public Health Reality

In the U.S., nearly 40,000 people died from guns in 2017. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gun violence has become a normalized occurrence and the American Medical Association has called this issue “a public health crisis.” KUNR’s continuing coverage explores how Northern Nevada, including medical professionals, law enforcement and everyday citizens, are mitigating this ongoing threat.

A paramedic stands in front of a podium and table. Behind him the REMSA logo can be seen.
Krysta Scripter

Last year, there were 340 mass shootings nationwide. That’s according to the nonprofit the Gun Violence Archive. Mass casualty events can cause mayhem, delaying first responders from getting to the scene quickly. KUNR’s Anh Gray visited a training session for a national campaign called Stop the Bleed, which empowers bystanders to render aid.

Disaster planning often focuses on treating adults and overlooks the special needs of children. KUNR’s Anh Gray reports as more communities nationwide experience gun violence, emergency workers are learning how to care for young victims of mass shootings.

Photo of a handgun.
Alexa Ard

A federal grant for more than $650,000 is meant to help Northern Nevada law enforcement agencies prevent firearm-related crimes. KUNR’s Anh Gray talked with Detective Lieutenant Zach Thew with the Reno Police Department about the Reno Gun Initiative, which launched last year.   

Quote from Dr. Tony Slonim of Renown Health reading “I am…a pediatric intensive care doctor and have, unfortunately, attended to children as young as four years of age who have been shot because of inadvertent gun use. Those images stick in your brain..."
Michelle Matus

Doctors nationwide have been weighing in on the gun control debate with #ThisIsOurLane on social media. They're responding to a recent tweet from the National Rifle Association, which admonished the American College of Physicians for declaring gun violence as a public health issue in a new position paper and said doctors should 'stay in their lane.'

KUNR's Anh Gray talked to the president and CEO of Renown Health, Dr. Tony Slonim, about why he and other medical professionals are speaking out. 

A blond woman in a black dress and white sweater stands smiling next to a tree.
Holly Hutchings

October 1 marks the first anniversary of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in American history. Many Northern Nevadans were there and have spent the last year feeling the effects of that tragic night. Kristine Richter and her husband were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival for her birthday when celebration turned to horror. She talked with KUNR's Holly Hutchings about surviving that night and learning to live in its aftermath.