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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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Still Ringing the Alarm: An Enduring Call to Action for Black Youth Suicide Prevention

August 23, 2023

In 2019, the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Task Force on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health sounded the alarm about concerning suicide trends among Black youth in their report, Ring the Alarm. This present report not only urges us to renew the urgent call to action, but also to critically interrogate the socioecological factors and structures—including institutional racism—that contribute to suicide risk among Black youth and how those factors create significant barriers for researchers and implementors trying to save their lives.This report is comprised of six main sections. The first section provides an overview of data pertaining to Black youth suicide ideation, attempts, and deaths to contextualize the problem, data trends, and how that varies based on intersectional identities. The second section contextualizes risk factors unique to Black youth using the socioecological model. The third section provides an overview of unique protective factors for Black youth, with the fourth section summarizing some existing evidence-informed and best practices for Black youth suicide prevention. The fifth section reviews gaps and impediments to Black youth suicide prevention, followed by the sixth section that provides recommendations developed to advance this work forward.This report serves as a renewal of the CBC task force's original call to action as well as a guide for policymakers, advocates, stakeholders, and federal, state, and local governments to understand the issue of Black youth suicide. The report identifies potential evidence-informed interventions and practice-based evidence to implement and address this enduring crisis, while also engaging in the longer-term work necessary to address upstream, structural factors that contribute to Black youth's suicide risk. Finally, the report also explores barriers researchers and implementors face to develop evidence-based and culturally responsive interventions to save Black youth's lives.

Youth Advocacy Toolkit

September 1, 2023

Living as a young person in Texas comes with the reality of livingwith the gun violence crisis that is plaguing our state. At Texas Gun Sense, we aim to empower young people through education.This toolkit is designed to provide young Texans under the age of 18 with the tools and information required to be effective gun violence prevention advocates.

K-12 School Shootings in Context: New Findings from The American School Shooting Study (TASSS)

August 23, 2023

The American School Shooting Study (TASSS) is an ongoing mixed-method project funded by the National Institute of Justice to catalog US school shootings. It has amassed data based on open sources and other public materials dating back to 1990. This brief presents new insights from TASSS, diving deeper into the database's potential to examine the locations, timing, and student involvement of youth-perpetrated gun violence.

Safe Storage of Firearms: A Toolkit for School Districts

August 10, 2023

Firearms are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Millions of children live in homes where firearms are loaded and unlocked. Accidental shootings, suicide and school shootings can occur when firearms are not securely stored.This toolkit provides school districts with information about their legal obligation to notify parents about child access prevention and safe storage, as well as additional steps schools can take to promote safe storage of firearms.

U.S. Youth Attitudes on Guns

July 25, 2023

More than 3,500 children and teens are shot and killed each year, 15,000 are shot and injured and an estimated 3 million are exposed to shootings (CDC, 2021; Everytown for Gun Safety, 2021a; Everytown for Gun Safety, 2021b). But there has been very little research exploring how young people feel about guns, what level of access they have to firearms and what shapes their attitudes toward gun ownership and gun violence. Given what we know about the nexus between gun violence and extremist ideologies (Everytown for Gun Safety, 2021c) and the staggering increase in gun sales during the COVID-19 pandemic (Miller, Zhang, & Azrael, 2021), understanding young people's views about the role of guns in society and their lives is of great importance.To explore these topics and more, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Polarization & Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) came together to study youth attitudes through: 1) a mixed-methods coding and analysis of online gun-related content in order to assess prominent gun narratives; 2) a quantitative survey using a U.S. national sample of 4,156 youth aged 14-30 and 3) an ongoing (as of January 2023, n = 38) qualitative phase of focus groups/interviews with people aged 14-30 recruited from the survey. We asked more than 4,100 young Americans between the ages of 14 and 30 questions abouttheir access to guns, how safe they feel, their experiences with gun violence, their political views, the media they consume and how they think about male supremacy, racial resentment and the Second Amendment, among other topics. We are conducting ongoing focus groups to further explore how all of these attitudes combine to form the prism through which young people view our country's gun violence crisis.The result is the following report, which provides groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind insights into how young Americans think about and use guns and the ways in which some come to view guns as a "socially imaginable" (Blanchfield, 2022) solution to everyday grievances and frustrations.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act: Mental Health Wins Undermined for Black and Brown Youth

January 12, 2023

Passed in June 2022, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) came at a time in our country when legislation on both mental health and gun violence prevention was overdue. While generally upheld as a major legislative victory that expands federal investments in mental health supports, the BSCA also includes a series of provisions that will disproportionately harm the mental health of young people who are Black, brown, disabled, low income, and LGBTQIA+.This brief provides an overview of the key mental health provisions in the act, gives a timeline of expected implementation, and offers recommendations for mental health policies that center equity.

Keeping Our Promise: Annual Report 2022

November 29, 2022

As we reflect on the decade that has passed since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where our youngest sons, Daniel and Dylan, were killed, we are deeply grateful for your support. Our shared promise to protect kids from gun violence endures until all children are free from school shootings and other acts of violence. And we couldn't do this life-saving work without you.This has been a turbulent year. Despite many challenges, our momentum continues to grow. We trained more youth and adults than ever before. Thousands of school communities are stronger. Numerous lives were saved. Countless kids received the help they needed.

Centering Youth in Community Violence Interventions as Part of a Comprehensive Approach to Countering Gun Violence

October 11, 2022

Violent crime has been rising nationally since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many elected officials, policymakers, and media outlets have mistakenly placed the blame on young people. For far too long, youth have been an easy scapegoat for the rising violence in America. Although the real drivers of this devastating trend are complex and far-reaching, the political motivation to point to a single reason for violent crime has spawned public discourse and policy developments that have harmed generations of youth, and particularly youth of color, for a problem they did not cause.According to a recent Sentencing Project analysis, only 7 percent of the people arrested in the United States in 2019 were younger than 18, a much smaller share than in years past. This trend continued across offense categories in 2020, with the share of crime committed by youth continuing to decline. In fact, from 2017 to 2020, the total number of youth arrested fell by 50 percent, the number of youth arrested for serious crimes fell by 38 percent, and the number of youth arrested for homicides fell by 8 percent. The overall number of homicides committed by youth did rise slightly from 2019 to 2020 along with the national trend, but the share of youth arrested for homicide was only 7.5 percent in 2020 and remains lower than in the preceding years.Although the trends in youth arrests are going in the right direction, the data on youth victims of gun violence tell a different story. Gun violence was the leading cause of death among children and teenagers in 2020. Black youth are 14 times more likely and Hispanic youth are three times more likely than white youth to die as a result of gun violence. Violent crime is the consequence of historic underinvestment in communities of color. A comprehensive approach to address crime and violence should direct resources back into communities of color that have been disproportionately affected and where historic divestment has resulted in a lack of proven public health and community safety infrastructure.This issue brief highlights the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to gun violence to meet the needs of young people. It discusses how community violence intervention (CVI) programs are an important part of that approach to stop the current cycle of violence and spotlights two programs that are working to meet youth where they are.

Youth Data & Intervention Initiative: Identifying and Intervening with Youth at Risk for Gun Violence

October 7, 2022

With support from the Walmart Foundation through the Center for RacialEquity, NICJR will launch a Youth Data and Intervention Initiative (YDII) in NOVPNmember cities. YDII is a research, data tracking, and intensive intervention initiative thatseeks to prevent youth in their early teens from becoming involved in gun violence bythe time they reach young adulthood.Utilizing interviews and data from law enforcement, probation and parole, and community-based organizations, NICJR has conducted detailed analyses of gun violence in several cities throughout the country. Although youth account for only a smallproportion of the population involved in nonfatal injury shootings and homicides, YDIIis based on the premise that risk factors for gun violence were likely already presentduring the pre-teen and adolescent years. If specific experiences and measurablecharacteristics can predict who will become a victim or suspect in a shooting later in life,these data can be used to guide intervention strategies to prevent the violence.

The Effects of Firearm Violence on Children: Implications for Its Prevention in Our Schools and Communities

August 31, 2022

Exposure to firearm violence persists as an urgent public health problem because of its prevalence and impact. In the United States, firearms are now the leading cause of death among all children, ages 1-19 years old, and nonfatal firearm assaults occur at more than twice the rate for youth compared to the general population. Furthermore, recent work has highlighted that 92 percent of all firearm-related deaths of 5- to 14-year-old children in high-income countries occur in the US. Firearm violence affects children not only through direct exposure, such as being threatened, injured, or killed by a firearm, but also through indirect exposure by hearing or witnessing incidents or by losing a peer or family member to this form of violence. Tragically, the burden of firearm violence falls disproportionally on children of color, particularly young Black men between the ages of 15 and 24 in urban settings. Research further illustrates that Black children between the ages of 5 and 17 years were exposed to violence in their neighborhoods 4.44 times more frequently than white children prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that these stark disparities have become even more pronounced since. An analysis of homicides in Washington, DC, in 2021 found that 89 percent of children of color (compared to 57 percent of white children) lived within a half mile of a homicide. In this brief, we describe the impact of exposure to violence on youth, review factors that are protective, highlight prevention and interventions for this urgent issue, and provide implications for policy.

Stopping School Shootings: Lessons from Parkland, Oxford, Uvalde, and the Federal Commission on School Safety

August 2, 2022

Key PointsAfter the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Donald Trump tasked a multiagency effort to review best practices for school safety, which issued a landmark Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) report containing practical and actionable advice to keep students safe.After the school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, which—judging by a lawsuit filed against the school district—appeared to parallel the Parkland shooting with red flags missed and administrative missteps made, the Biden administration declared that the FCSS no longer reflected federal policy.There is a willful campaign from social justice advocacy organizations to fight against some of the key best practices FCSS identified. An examination of the alleged circumstances of the Oxford shooting suggests that school leaders should take their cues on school safety not from advocacy organizations or the Biden administration but from a careful evaluation of previous tragedies.

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.