Public health

Small arms and light weapons are a public health problem: they are a preventable cause of widespread death, injury and suffering.

In some countries, small arms violence is the leading cause of death among certain populations. Public health and medical professionals view gun violence as a problem that can be reduced using strategies successfully employed against other societal health problems (such as smoking-related illness and motor vehicle injuries)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends restricting access to firearms as part of its Violence & Injury Prevention program.

Latest news

The 1 December was World Aids Day. IANSA women have made the connection between small arms and HIV/AIDS, and how sexual violence at gunpoint, all too common in conflict and post-conflict settings, contributes to increased rates of HIV transmission. More

76% of the homicide-suicide cases in Switzerland involve the use of firearms, very often a gun kept at home by Swiss army reservists, according to a new study by the University Institute of Forensic Medicine of Lausanne (Switzerland).

A report published by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat aims to help developing countries develop a public health approach to injury prevention, particularly in Africa. Understanding Violence: The Role of Injury Surveillance Systems in Africa, highlights lessons learned from pilot projects run in DR Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia. More

Latest resources

A summary report of the side event "Health, women and development and the Arms Trade Treaty", co-organised by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Most of the Health Ministers of the Americas signed this landmark 2008 declaration, recognising the impact of guns in injuries, murders and suicides, and recommending greater cooperation to reduce access to these weapons.

In most countries, there is little or no accurate information on the extent of gun injuries. These UN guidelines are designed to help researchers collect this information.

The EU office of the World Health Organisation compiles health-related data that incorporates gun injuries. Their database is a useful resource for researchers, especially epidemiologists.

Globally, there is very little information on the true costs of armed violence. This UN manual provides a methodology to allow national researchers to collect and analyse data on the costs of injuries, including gun injuries.