Gun Violence Prevention
Gun violence affects society in many ways, including higher medical costs, reductions in quality of life because of fear of gun violence and stresses on the criminal justice system. The United States has the highest rate of gun-related injuries among developed countries, as well as the highest rate of gun ownership. Psychologists and other public health scientists are working to develop effective methods to reduce gun violence, but political opposition has created barriers to government support for research.
Research on Gun Violence
Resolution on Firearm Violence Research and Prevention
The APA Council of Representatives, at its February 2014 meeting, adopted the Resolution on Firearm Violence Research and Prevention to reflect current knowledge on gun violence research and prevention, to inform the field and to provide a strong foundation for APA federal advocacy efforts.
Firearms And Violence: A Critical Review
Committee to Improve Research Information and Data on Firearms, Committee on Law and Justice, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council of the National Academies.
Priorities for a Public Health Research Agenda to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence
Institutes of Medicine of the National Academies Executive Office, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.
What Can You Do?
- Warning signs of youth violence
When you recognize violence warning signs in someone else, there are things you can do. "Warning Signs of Youth Violence," co-produced by the APA and MTV in 1999 and updated in January 2013, can help young people recognize when a classmate or friend might be a potential danger to themselves or others.
- Learn how to help in an emotional crisis.
- Learn about preventing gun violence in five steps in this report from the American Public Health Association, which calls gun violence "a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It's a public health crisis, but it's one that can be solved."
- Learn how to store and use firearms safely to prevent impulsive gun violence and accidents.
- Learn how to help persons in crisis get the help they need.
- Contact your local school board to support programs that establish safe and supportive environments for all students and staff.
- Educate yourself about gun violence by reading the APA Resolution on Firearm Research and Prevention and the APA Panel of Experts Report, "Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention and Policy."
- Contact your member of Congress to support research to understand the best approaches to preventing gun violence.
- Find a Psychologist.
- Learn more about the research on prevention.
- Learn more about mental health from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
American College of Physicians offers policy recommendations for reducing gun-related injuries and deaths in the U.S.
April 10, 2014; American College of Physicians
Washington Post calls for more research on accidental gun deaths in children
Nov. 29, 2013; The Washington Post
NYT study finds accidental gun deaths of children underreported
Sept. 28, 2013; The New York Times
American Psychological Association Applauds Provisions of White House Plan to Stem Gun Violence
Jan. 17, 2013: American Psychological Association
APA’s Anderson Meets With Obama Administration Officials to Provide Input on Violence Prevention Proposals
Jan. 10, 2013: American Psychological Association
Violence Against Teachers Spurs Urgent Call to Action
Jan. 7, 2013: American Psychological Association
Media Advisory: Experts Available to Talk About Psychology Related to School Shootings
Dec. 14, 2012: American Psychological Association
Five Questions on the Tucson, Ariz., Shootings for Psychologist Joel Dvoskin, PhD
Jan. 12, 2011: American Psychological Association
For Virginia Tech Community, Anxiety and Sadness May Increase on Anniversary of School Shootings
April 11, 2008: American Psychological Association
Monitor on Psychology Articles
Know the signs of suicide
From the CEO—Virginia Tech: What Can We Do?
June 2007 American Psychological Association
APA Offices and Programs
Violence Prevention Office
Gun violence affects society in many ways, including higher medical costs, reductions in quality of life and stresses on the criminal justice system. The question before psychology is what can science tell us about the most effective methods to reduce gun violence.
Government Relations Office
APA advocacy efforts related to the prevention of violence, incuding gun violence.
APA Initiatives to Prevent Gun Violence
APA-wide initiatives to prevent gun violence have involved communications with the White House, executive agencies, Congress, other organizations, APA members, the news media and the general public in support of vital mental and behavioral health services, training and research.