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Understanding gun violence research can help inform your schoolwork and advocacy. Learn about the root causes of gun violence so you can advocate for evidence-based solutions to stop it.

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Gun Violence in America

Every day, more than 100 Americans are killed with guns and more than 200 are shot and wounded. The effects of gun violence in America extend far beyond these casualties—gun violence shapes the lives of millions of Americans who witness it, know someone who was shot, or live in fear of the next shooting.

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What are the solutions?

Gun violence in America is a complex issue—but these common-sense solutions are a good place to start.

Background Checks

Background checks are the foundation of any comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy. While federal law requires background checks for all gun sales by licensed gun dealers, it does not require background checks for guns sold by unlicensed sellers, like non-dealers who sell guns online or at gun shows.

Impact on Black Americans

Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. They experience 10 times the gun homicides, 18 times the gun assault injuries, and nearly 3 times the fatal police shootings of white Americans.

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What are the solutions?

Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws

Stand Your Ground laws allow people to shoot to kill in public even when they can safely walk away from the danger. These laws threaten public safety by encouraging armed vigilantism. 

Gun Violence by Police

Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to be shot and killed by police than white Americans, and one in four people shot and killed by the police displayed symptoms of mental illness at the time of the fatal encounter.⁠⁠

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What are the solutions?

George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act alone won’t end systemic racism or police violence, but it’s a necessary (and long overdue) step towards justice.

Alternative Dispatch

Alternative dispatch programs operate by having civilians—such as mental health professionals—respond to select 911 calls in cases where their specialized training makes them better equipped to help.⁠⁠

Guns in Schools

We need meaningful strategies to keep our schools safe. School communities must be provided with the tools they need to intervene and prevent school-based gun violence.

What are the solutions?

Reconsider Active Shooter Drills

95% of American public schools drill students on lockdown procedures. Yet, there is almost no research affirming the value of these drills for preventing school shootings or protecting the school community when shootings do occur.

Stop Arming Teachers

Having access to a gun in the classroom increases the likelihood that a student will access a gun and that someone will be shot outside of an active shooter incident. Schools are places for books and backpacks, not weapons.

Gun Violence in Cities

Gun violence is prevalent in many U.S. cities, particularly in historically underfunded neighborhoods. It spreads through social networks and intensifies long-standing inequities and public health disparities.

What are the solutions?

Violence Intervention Programs

Violence intervention programs provide evidence and community-informed support to individuals who are at the greatest risk of gunshot victimization. These programs are shown to reduce gunshot woundings and deaths in the neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence.

Stop Gun Trafficking

Our gun laws are only as strong as our weakest state’s laws. 76% of traced crime guns that crossed state lines came from states without background check laws.

Gun Suicide

Though gun violence conversations tend to focus on homicides, nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young Americans.

What are the solutions?

Extreme Risk Laws

When a person is in crisis and considering harming themselves or others, family members and law enforcement are often the first people to see the warning signs. Extreme Risk laws, sometimes referred to as “Red Flag” laws, empower loved ones or law enforcement to intervene by petitioning a civil court for an order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns.

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