Protecting the public's health following the Virginia Tech tragedy: issues of law and policy.

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Abstract

Assessing legal responsibility in the aftermath of the April 2007 tragedy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is inevitable. Beyond assigning blame, law- and policymakers should examine ways to protect the public from future incidences of gun violence on campuses and other settings. Although no combination of legal responses may fully deter individuals who are intent on causing significant harm, select legal reforms have the potential to prevent future acts of gun violence. These reforms include considering more restrictive gun laws nationally, reporting individuals with known mental impairments that may endanger themselves or others to federal or state databases, and refining laws that limit institutions from acting in advance to address prospectively dangerous people. Each of these reforms has the potential to reduce acts of gun violence to improve the public's health, but also implicates individual rights and interests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S43-46
JournalDisaster medicine and public health preparedness
Volume1
Issue number1 Suppl
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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