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Home » Public health policy — gun control and vaccines to save children’s lives

Public health policy — gun control and vaccines to save children’s lives

Another day, another mass shooting in the USA. Gun control and vaccines should be public health issues, but they aren’t. In fact, anti-vaccine and anti-gun control activists seem to show a huge overlap in the Venn diagram of being opposed to the health of children. They both make the same excuses and the same lies.

There have been over 200 mass shootings in the USA just in 2022 alone. And that’s as of 26 May 2022! Americans are so numb to it that it’s becoming harder and harder to express outrage and disgust.

Gun control should be a public health issue no different than what we do with vaccines. The CDC should be posting rules to reduce gun violence as much as they do to reduce deaths from COVID-19 by pushing vaccines.

But here’s what’s going to happen. After 19 children and two adults were killed at an elementary school in Texas, a state which thinks all guns are good, politicians will express their useless “thoughts and prayers,” and in a few days, all will be forgotten. If 19 children and two adults had died of COVID-19, we’d try to fix it. If 19 children and two adults had died in a school bus crash, we’d try to fix it. But gun violence? There seems to be no willpower among the political elite to do anything, especially in our nation of minority rule.

What some of the anti-gun control people are saying is that the risk of dying from a gun is so small, that gun control is outweighed by the benefits of owning guns. I’ve heard this logic before, and it’s from the anti-vaccine zealots. They argue that because only a few children will die of measles (or any vaccine-preventable disease), vaccines should not be mandated. 

Yes, the chances of dying from measles are rare (thanks to vaccines). Yes, the chances of one person dying in a mass murder are small. The problem with the logic of the anti-vaccine and anti-gun control activists is the same — we have the power to prevent both. And we should prevent both. Our public health advocates should be on the side of vaccines and gun control.

boy in green shirt
Photo by CDC on

Comparing vaccines and gun control 

  1. Gun control and vaccinations are public health issues. Unfortunately, Federal law prevents the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation’s public health agency, from advocating for gun control as they can do for vaccines. That being said, the CDC has produced a lot of peer-reviewed research that shows that states with stronger gun control laws, like California, have some of the lowest mortality rates from guns. 
  2. Anti-vaccine and anti-gun control advocates both think they have some “right” to put their children at risk of harm, including death. This has never made sense to me. I wish someone would explain it. Oh yeah, the anti-children side says we should arm teachers to protect children, and vaccines are useless. 
  3. Few states have had the political will to both mandate vaccines and control guns. Once again, California.
  4. Anti-vaxxers frequently threaten those of us who support vaccines with gun violence. Like they did against a member of Congress
gun control heatlh

I’m seriously tired of all of this. I’m tired that our country lacks the fortitude to put in rational gun control. It should be difficult to buy weapons and ammunition. I’m tired of the racism and hatred that surrounds the gun control and vaccine discussions.

Larry Cook, who had a violent anti-vaccine Facebook page, threatens pro-vaccine people with gun violence. Talk about the intersection of hate-filled violence of the anti-vaccine and anti-gun control groups.

And more anti-vaccine threats and 2nd Amendment claims. They are the same.

Well, we are doing so much better with vaccinating our children, despite the fear, uncertainty, and doubt from the anti-vaccine radicals. The country mostly had the will to make immunization a public health issue and it was successful. But every day, we see the lies from the anti-vaxxers, especially with COVID-19 vaccines, and they are making inroads into this discourse about the country’s public health.

On the other hand, the public health issue of gun control has mostly been nothing. So, every day, more people are killed by assault weapons brandished by angry men (mostly). At what point do we change?

I guess we’ll continue with worthless “thoughts and prayer,” until such time no American is alive because of guns, climate change, and vaccine-preventable diseases.

I wish we would make gun control a public health initiative no different than we did to get vaccines to try to end the COVID-19 pandemic. But I don’t think it will happen, because the majority of Americans who want gun control are outvoted by the minority who don’t.

Michael Simpson

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