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Why gun violence is a public health crisis in the United States

More Americans have died of civilian firearm injuries since 1960 than all death from all wars that the U.S. has fought since its founding

Heidelberg | London, 17 Dezember 2020

Book cover: Why We Are Losing the War on Gun Violence in the United States The problem of gun violence is multifaceted. Particularly in the United States, which is why in this edited collection, experts from different academic fields take a fresh approach to gun violence by framing a collection of data and viewpoints around answering the question Why We Are Losing the War on Gun Violence in the United States.

“Declaring war is a matter of survival. Nearly 40,000 Americans lost their lives in 2018 from gun violence on our streets, in our schools, in our homes, and most reprehensibly as the result of racism and police-perpetrated homicide,” writes one of the editors, Woodie Kessel, former Assistant Surgeon General.  

Public health wars succeed in saving lives. Although successes and failures in gun violence prevention are examined, it is a war the United States is losing. Obstacles are restrictions on research funding, entrenched historical perspectives, structural violence, and possibly differing priorities or views on what is right or wrong. Gun violence is a public health crisis that remains politicized and seemingly paralyzed with inaction. In the chapters, the authors write about the challenges that have impeded gun violence prevention and highlight possible strategies for progress to save lives. Critical areas explored among the chapters include:

  • Gun Violence, Structural Violence, and Social Justice
  • Mental Illness and Gun Violence
  • Understanding the Political Divide in Gun Policy Support
  • The Impact of Policy and Law Enforcement Strategies on Reducing Gun Violence in America
  • Youth Gun Violence Prevention Organizing

The editors and authors hope to bridge the growing gap between groups or ideologies and create common ground to address workable solutions.

Why We Are Losing the War on Gun Violence in the United States is addressed towards a broad audience including practitioners, academics, researchers, students, policy-makers, and other professionals in public health, behavioural sciences (including social work and psychology), social sciences, health sciences, public policy, political science, and law, as well as any readers interested in the path to decreasing gun violence in America.

About the editors

Marie Crandall, MD, MPH, FACS, is Professor of Surgery at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine Jacksonville, Associate Chair for Research for the Department of Surgery, and Program Director for the General Surgery residency.
Jennifer Bronson, PhD, is a founding member and co-chair of American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Gun Violence Prevention Workgroup, formed in 2013.
Stephanie Bonne, MD, FACS, is an Associate Professor of surgery in the division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, and practices trauma and critical care surgery at University Hospital. She is the medical director of the centre’s Hospital Violence Intervention Program, and the surveillance core director of the New Jersey Centre on Gun Violence Research at Rutgers University.  
Woodie Kessel, MD, MPH, served in the U.S. Public Health Service as an Assistant Surgeon General and senior advisor to the White House, Cabinet Secretaries, Surgeons General, and Health and Human Services officials spanning eight administrations. He is a paediatrician and advocate for children and families, public-private enterprise, diversity, and achieving human potential.  Dr Kessel is Professor of the Practice at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health and the C. Everett Koop Institute Senior Child Health Scholar and Professor of Paediatrics, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.  

About the book

Marie Crandall, Stephanie Bonne, Jennifer Bronson and Woodie Kessel
Why We Are Losing the War on Gun Violence in the United States
2021, 307 p. 13 illus. in colour
Hardcover €94,63 | £79.99 | $111,99
ISBN 978-3-030-55512-2
eISBN 978-3-030-55513-9

Services for Journalists
  • Marie Crandall is available for interviews.

For booking an interview or for requesting a review copy, contact


Felicitas Behrendt | Springer Nature | Communications
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