Stopping ‘contagion’ of gun violence will require long-term efforts

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Deborah Azrael, a gun violence researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, spoke to the Harvard Gazette for a June 14, 2016 article on addressing incidents of mass violence such as the recent night club massacre in Orlando.

Mass shootings can be thought of as a contagion, said Azrael, who is research director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and associate director of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center. “You’re much better off preventing an epidemic before it’s widespread,” she said. “So I think that all of our efforts are likely to bear fruit in the long run, not the short run. We won’t do something and see an enormous drop immediately in these types of events. So anybody interested in stopping them has to stay interested in the long term.”

Azrael’s recommendations include banning military-style weapons like the one used in the Orlando massacre, and gun-violence restraining orders that enable concerned family members to have guns removed from the home.