Gun Violence

The issues, the research, and what you can do. gun_violence_250.jpg

Gun Violence and Public Policies

Gun violence is a serious public health issue. This page provides links to resources documenting the extent and nature of the problem in the United States. We also provide a discussion of the many public policy debates that impact gun violence in the US. 

These public policy issues include:

  • The ban on federal funding for gun violence research
  • Universal background checks
  • Bans on specific types of weapons
  • Bans on specific types of ammunition

The Issues: Federal Funding for Gun Violence Research

In 1993 an article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Gun ownership as a risk factor for homicide in the home.” In the article, Arthur Kellerman and his colleagues concluded that the presence of a gun in a home was strongly associated with an increased risk of homicide by a family member or close acquaintance. The research was funded by the Centers of Disease Control, and in response the National Rifle Association successfully campaigned to have all funding related to gun violence research eliminated from the CDC budget. This was accomplished through a rider in the annual federal appropriations bill, the bill that creates for the overall federal budget each year. 

This year there was an extremely strong, often bipartisan push to have that rider eliminated from the appropriations bill. Those efforts failed, and the ban on federal funding for gun violence research is still in place. 

The APA was one of many organizations working to eliminate the ban. For an extensive overview of this issue from the APA click here

The Issues: Universal Background Checks


The Issues: Weapons Bans


The Issues: Ammunition Bans


Resources for Data on Gun Violence in the United States 

US Mass Shootings, 1982-2015: Data From Mother Jones' Investigation

What Does Gun Violence Really Cost? Mother Jones (the results of collaboration between Mother Jones magazine and economist Ted Miller of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation)

What Does Gun Violence Really Cost? Charts 

What Does Gun Violence Really Cost? Methodology

What Does Gun Violence Really Cost? By State

Gun Violence Archive (a non-profit devoted to providing accurate information on gun-related violence in the U.S.)

The American Psychological Association

The APA supports a public health approach to firearm violence, including the implementation of preventive interventions that are evidence-based, and the evaluation of such interventions when implemented. 

Resolution on Firearm Violence Research and Prevention

In particular, the APA strongly supports lifting the ban on federal funding for gun violence research