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This document reviews the Joyce Foundation's 25-year history of grant making to advance gun violence prevention research. Since 1993, the Joyce Foundation has provided support to researchers who have produced hundreds of scientific publications and innumerable insights about gun violence in the United States, and its solutions. This is necessarily an incomplete accounting, but provides an approximate measure of the unique impact of the Joyce Foundation's grant making during a critical time period when few other private or public funders supported the field.
Guns have the potential to greatly amplify violence, as they can inflict serious — often deadly —injuries on many people in a short time. In the United States, gun violence is a major public healthproblem and a leading cause of premature death.
On June 12, 2016, a man fatally shot 49 people and wounded 58 more at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, FL. The victims, primarily LGBTQ and Latinx, were senselessly killed in what was supposed to be a safe space while celebrating their shared identity and Pride month. This horrific tragedy changed the LGBTQ community forever, catalyzing the movement to unite behind gun violence prevention. Pulse is a reminder of the work that remains to end the acts of hate that wound and kill LGBTQ Americans today -- violence that all too often is perpetrated with guns.As the nation marks four years since this tragedy, we must never lose sight of the unfulfilled hopes, the families shattered and the love lost in this preventable act of mass murder. The thousands more killed by gun violence since Pulse underscore the glaring failure of our elected officials to take common sense steps to combat the scourge of gun violence that plagues our nation. Advocates and people across this country must remain as resolved as ever to honor those taken with action, and work to ensure that all of us may live safe from violence.
The plethora of early gun laws herein described establish their prolific existence, but also validate the argument that gun rules and gun rights are by no means at odds. If the Supreme Court was indeed serious in saying that the provenance of gun regulations is relevant to the evaluation of contemporary laws, then this examination advances the Court's stated objective. The common notions that gun laws are largely a function of modern, industrial (or postindustrial) America, that gun laws are incompatible with American history and its practices or values, and that gun laws fundamentally collide with American legal traditions or individual rights, are all patently false. Following this introduction in part I, part II establishes that gun laws are as old as the nation. Part III summarizes the different categories into which early gun laws are categorized, and the frequency distributions within each category divided into time periods from 1607 to 1934. Part IV examines illustrative laws within each category and considers their nature and consequences. Part V offers a brief conclusion.