In a recent article in the EDN about separating Chicago from the rest of Illinois, Kevin Colburn, a Sangamon County resident, finished his discussion with his view on gun sanctuaries. ("Halbrook discusses separating Chicago; Local gun-rights ordinances also among topics," July 16, 2019, page A1.) He stated that he wanted to block onerous gun laws.

He added that, "l want to talk with the people who disagree to give me some compelling evidence and some compelling facts so maybe I can research and then we can agree that may not work."

This is really a public health question, what works to increase public safety and what can be proven. Luckily, in the same week an article appeared in Pediatrics, a leading U.S. journal dealing with children's health issues. A group reviewed information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention about deaths in those under 21 years of age that were firearms related, comparing states with more firearms regulations to those with fewer regulations.

From 2011 to 2015, there were 21,241 firearm related deaths in the U.S. in those under 21. This varied from state to state from 1.1 to 18.1 per 100,000 children. They found that in states with universal background checks for the previous five years versus those without, there were 35% fewer firearm related deaths in those under 21.

This is a fact that can help Mr. Colburn. It is in the August edition of the journal. Similar studies are there in medical journals, i.e., JAMA Internal Medicine (2013) and American Journal of Public Health (2015) and others.

Hopefully, these studies will help us make public health decisions about firearms and children. There is evidence out there if we choose to look at it.

Dan Niebrugge


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