This special collection brings together evidence and insights from nonprofits, foundations, and research organizations working to understand the full impact of firearm use and gun violence in the US. By providing us with analyses of current state and federal laws as well as valuable data on suicides, homicides, accidents, and mass shootings, these organizations seek to inform sound public policy and to curb this ongoing public health epidemic.

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"Gun Violence" by M+R Glasgow licensed under CC 2.0

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Addressing the root causes of gun violence with American Rescue Plan funds: Lessons from state and local governments

August 15, 2022

In June 2022, the most significant piece of gun violence prevention legislation in decades, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, became law. Alongside several common-sense gun regulations, the law allocates $250 million for community-based violence prevention initiatives—a promising step toward promoting safety through non-carceral and community-centered approaches.This federal action is important, but it only scratches the surface of what can be done to keep communities safe from gun violence. From investing in youth employment programs to revitalizing vacant lots to improving the quality of neighborhood housing, a wealth of community-based safety interventions are proven to reduce violent crime—including gun violence—in the places most impacted by it, and tackle the conditions of inequality that allow violence to concentrate in the first place. But far too often, these community-based interventions are under-funded, particularly when compared to more punitive approaches.Luckily, another source of federal aid can fund community-based safety investments: the American Rescue Plan's (ARP) $350 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. In addition to helping states and localities recover from the pandemic, the funds also provide local leaders with an unparalleled opportunity to address the public health crisis of gun violence.This research brief documents how state and local leaders are leveraging ARP funds to invest in non-carceral community-based safety initiatives; presents perspectives and case studies from leaders on-the-ground innovating on such strategies; and offers recommendations for how state and local leaders can maximize ARP funds to promote community safety prior to 2024 (when all funds must be obligated) and 2026 (when all funds must be spent). This is an unparalleled—and time-limited—window of opportunity, and states and localities should be thinking strategically right now about how to not only invest in proven strategies to reduce gun violence, but also promote life-affirming safety investments that support thriving communities.

Child and Teen Firearm Mortality in the U.S. and Peer Countries

July 8, 2022

Firearms recently became the number one cause of death for children in the United States, surpassing motor vehicle deaths and those caused by other injuries.We examine how gun violence and other types of firearm deaths among children and teens in the United States compares to rates in similarly large and wealthy countries. We select comparable large and wealthy countries by identifying Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member nations with above median GDP and above median GDP per capita in at least one year from 2010-2020. Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wonder database and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study data, we compare fatality rates and disability estimates for people ages 1 through 19. (Since estimates were not available for children ages 1-17 alone, young adults ages 18 and 19 are grouped with children for the purposes of this brief).We find that the United States is alone among peer nations in the number of child firearm deaths. In no other similarly large or wealthy country are firearm deaths in the top 4 causes of mortality let alone the number 1 cause of death among children.

Educational Costs of Gun Violence: Implications for Washington, DC

July 8, 2022

Research indicates that gun violence and violent crime can negatively affect educational outcomes including test scores, graduation rates, and academic engagement. In this brief, we summarize research on this topic, situate this evidence in the context of the geography of gun violence and educational outcomes in DC, and describe implications for DC communities.

Recent Trends in Mental Health and Substance Use Concerns Among Adolescents

June 28, 2022

Concerns about adolescent mental health and substance use have increased recently, particularly in light of gun violence and the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent years, many adolescents have experienced worsened emotional health, increased stress, and a lack of peer connection. Other mental health and substance use concerns are on the rise – including drug overdose deaths, self-harm, and eating disorders. Simultaneously, adolescents are spending more time on screens and many report adverse experiences such as parental abuse, hunger, and job loss – all of which can be linked to poor mental health outcomes.This brief explores the state of adolescent mental health and substance use in recent years, highlighting differences observed by sex, racial and ethnic groups, and sexual orientation. Throughout this analysis, we define adolescents as individuals ages 12 to 17. Although data on adolescent mental health is limited, where possible, we draw upon data from the 2020 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), which asks parents or guardians questions on behalf of their children and adolescents. We also include data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other surveys conducted during the pandemic.

U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons

June 10, 2022

The United States is witnessing another year of record gun violence, raising domestic and international scrutiny of its comparatively loose gun laws and placing pressure on lawmakers to enact meaningful reforms.

Gun Violence Is Having a Devastating Impact on Young People

June 10, 2022

From 2019 to 2020, gun homicides among children and teenagers rose dramatically. As a result, firearms are now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 17. In addition, young Americans are suffering from a rapid and devastating rise in school shootings, increasingly mourning the loss of a parent due to firearm-related violence, and experiencing nonfatal gunshot injuries and gunshot threats at an alarming frequency.Despite these concerning trends, some elected officials refuse to protect our youth from gun-related crimes. Instead, they are blocking commonsense gun safety laws and even pushing for counterproductive measures that would further endanger children and teenagers. This must change. 

Gun rights groups set new lobbying spending record in 2021

May 16, 2022

On Saturday, an 18-year-old gunman entered the Tops Friendly Supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. He killed 10 people, injured three others and left a community reeling. Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas), who has received more funding from gun rights groups than any other politician since he was elected to Congress in 2012, condemned the racially-motivated mass shooting as "profoundly anti-American."But mass shootings are an increasingly common facet of American life. There have been 198 mass shootings in 132 days in 2022. The Buffalo massacre is the deadliest this year so far.Powerful gun rights groups including the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America have poured millions into lobbying, campaign contributions and outside spending to advocate for the right to bear arms. At least 81.4 million Americans owned guns in 2021. Gun rights groups spent a record $15.8 million on lobbying in 2021 and $2 million in the first quarter of 2022. These organizations have invested $190 million in lobbying efforts since 1998. Gun rights advocates spent more than $114 million of that total since 2013.Lobbying by gun rights advocates nearly tripled in 2013 after a gunman murdered 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, 2012. The following year was the closest the Senate has come in the last decade to passing meaningful gun control legislation.

Nine Strategies to Guide Efforts to Reduce Youth Gun Violence

April 22, 2022

Gun violence, including that perpetrated by young people, is a pernicious problem for many communities, particularly those facing historically high levels of concentrated disadvantage and disinvestment. To effectively address youth gun violence and establish and maintain peace, communities need stable safety infrastructures and effective interventions.We developed a research-based practice guide to help local governments, law enforcement agencies, and antiviolence organizations determine how to shape their approaches to reducing gun violence perpetrated by young people ages 10 to 25 in gangs or groups. Here, we summarize the guide's recommendations on how to develop effective interventions and build a broader safety infrastructure that supports the success of different partners working to protect young people and communities from gun violence.

Recent Survey Shows Battleground Voters Demand Stronger Gun Laws to Help Reduce Crime

April 18, 2022

In 2018, voters turned out in record numbers to elect a gun sense majority in Congress. Now, ahead of the November midterm elections, new polling shows gun violence prevention can once again shore up Democratic votes. With voters concerned about rising crime across the country, they are turning to gun violence prevention policies for the answer and are looking for action from elected officials.A recent survey of 2022 voters in U.S. Senate battleground states shows that voters are prioritizing commonsense gun safety reforms to combat crime, especially those voters that Democrats most need to turn out -- and gain back their vote share -- to win: suburban voters, independents, Hispanic voters, and Black voters. 

Investing in Community Violence Intervention to Reduce Gun Violence in Raleigh

February 28, 2022

Raleigh faces a crisis of gun violence that requires city-level investments in community violence intervention programs (CVI). In 2020, 22 residents died by gun homicide and 96 were shot and wounded. This gun violence disproportionately impacts Black residents in Raleigh, who are ten times more likely to die by gun homicide than their white counterparts. Much of this violence occurs within neighborhoods that face systemic inequities and racial discrimination, and it is highly concentrated among small numbers of people who are caught in cycles of victimization, trauma, and retaliation. 

United States Gun Deaths: 2020

January 1, 2022

In 2020, 45,222 people, an average of 124 every day, lost their lives to gun violence. The overall gun death rate increased by 15% from 2019 reaching the highest level ever recorded. This increase was driven by a dramatic rise in gun homicide – nearly 5,000 more gun homicides than in 2019 – and a persistently high number of gun suicides.

The Data Behind Extreme Risk Laws: An Evidence-Based Policy That Saves Lives

November 1, 2021

Gun violence is a leading cause of death in the United States. Risk-based policies that help to create time and space between an at-risk individual and a firearm have great life-saving potential nationwide. A growing body of research suggests that extreme risk laws are valuable gun violence prevention tools.