Is a gun like a virus, a car, tobacco or alcohol? Yes say public health experts, who in the wake of recent mass shootings are calling for a fresh look at gun violence as a social disease.
What we need, they say, is a public health approach to the problem, like the highway safety measures, product changes and driving laws that slashed deaths from car crashes decades ago.
Dr. Stephen Hargarten is director of the Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He says one thing that's needed is national product safety oversight of firearms.
Other elements of a public health approach include looking at what makes someone more likely to shoot or be a victim and studying product features and environmental factors that lead to shootings.