Saturday, September 29, 2012

This Is So Not Public Health- Firearm Handling Edition

Even if we sidestep the right-to-carry gun issue and just focus on the problem at hand, this is still the opposite of a public health job well done.  From the New York Times:

Invariably, according to the T.S.A., travelers at airports with guns in their carry-on bags say they simply forgot they had them. “It’s almost always inadvertent rather than intentional,” said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the agency...  [That] was exactly the excuse offered by a 27-year-old flight attendant who was stopped at a checkpoint at the Philadelphia airport on Sunday... A Philadelphia police officer who responded tried to unload the 38-caliber handgun weapon but instead accidentally fired it. No one was hurt, and the flight attendant was issued a summary citation for disorderly conduct.
It's a well-told story of public health gone wrong.  Guns cannot be tossed in carry-on bags.  And guns cannot be accidentally fired when trained law enforcement officers try to unload it.  Even if the law allows people to have guns, our discourse around it should emphasize how carefully they must be handled and how well trained people must be to handle them.  These 2 missteps in 1 demonstrate missing pieces in our stories of gun use.

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