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It's always seemed to me that gun violence was an ideal problem for a public health approach. People argue about whether one solution or another will work to lower gun violence, but I don't believe we've assessed the problem nearly enough.

Compare gun violence to STI's, for instance. Since STI's are a reportable illness, we have these wonderful public health nurses who go out and determine where the patient contracted their disease, and treat affected partners to prevent its further spread. This has led to a dramatic reduction in some infectious diseases despite the fact that STI's are not exactly the most comfortable subject for discussion.

If gun violence were reportable, one could generate an enormous amount of potentially lifesaving data. Who owned the gun; was it legal; was the shooting intentional, negligent, or accidental; what was the time between obtaining the gun and the incident; demographics and relationship between the shooter and victim.