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Firearm Violence Prevention Policy Statement

The Role of the Academic Community in Reducing Firearm Violence

 Firearm Violence Prevention Policy [pdf]     Firearm Violence Prevention Toolkit  


The Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) calls upon medical and health professions schools and their academic units that teach prevention and public health in the United States to take action to reduce firearm-related injuries and deaths by advancing research of firearm violence; teaching students, faculty, and communities about the causes and impacts of firearm violence; and supporting evidence-based solutions to prevent firearm violence.


  • Annually, over 36,000 Americans are killed in acts of firearm violence and approximately 150,000 more are shot and injured.[i]
  • Firearms are the second leading cause of death for children and teens and the first leading cause of death for Black children and teens in the U.S.[ii]

  • Annually, 600 women in America are shot and killed by an intimate partner[iii] and when an abuser has access to a firearm, a domestic violence victim is five times more likely to be killed.[iv]
  • Access to a firearm increases the risk of death by suicide by three times and[v] firearm suicides are concentrated in states with high rates of firearm ownership.[vi]
  • The firearm homicide rate is 25 times higher and the firearm suicide rate is eight times higher in the United States than in other high-income countries.[vii]
  • Annually, over 10,300 violent hate crimes involve a firearm – more than 28 each day.[viii]

  • Research is critical to improve understanding of the public health aspects of firearm-related violence, including its causes, health burden, and possible interventions.[ix]

  • Several laws have effectively restricted federally funded research related to firearm violence, as well as access to complete crime data related to firearms.[x],[xi]

  • Most causes of death receive funding proportional to their burden on society, firearm deaths are one of the few exceptions.[xii] The federal government spends roughly $35 million per year researching motor vehicle collisions, but less than $2 million per year researching firearm deaths.[xiii]

  • In recent years, legislation has been introduced across the country to allow firearms on college and university campuses.[xiv]

THEREFORE, APTR Calls Upon ALL Institutions of Postsecondary Education To:

Implement Education Strategies on prevention and the social determinants that contribute to firearm violence and support educational initiatives that build awareness of the research on firearm violence.

Support Research and Dissemination of Evidence-based Policies – Fund scientific research across academic institutions into the causes and prevention of violence and continue to build the body of evidence for policies and strategies to reduce firearm violence. Conduct research studies to inform firearm violence prevention policy and practice, and the dissemination of research findings.

Seek Funding Because of the lack of funding for firearm violence research, only a few researchers have focused their careers and research efforts primarily on firearm violence.[xv] Research funding can provide grants to both new and experienced scholars to expand the pool of qualified firearm violence researchers. In addition, creative and innovative solutions are needed to address this gap in research; the research must be conducted, with or without typical funding streams.

Improve Surveillance – Advocate for the creation and evaluation of comprehensive national, state, and local data collection systems to facilitate research on the prevention of firearm-related fatalities and injuries and the movement of handguns within the population.

Convene Stakeholders – Encourage the creation and evaluation of community- and school-based programs (including coalitions) focused on the prevention of firearm injuries including suicides, homicides, and assaults, and trauma informed care. Adopt a multidisciplinary approach to establish collaboration between practitioners, pediatricians, gun owners, law enforcement, educators, government officials, communities, researchers, advocacy groups, gun manufacturers and parents to design effective interventions to eliminate this public health threat.

Empower Primary Care Providers – Recommend that health providers take a thorough history related to firearm ownership, advise patients about the hazards of firearms, use best practices and strategic approaches for promoting safer firearm ownership practices, and consider motivational interviewing techniques.

Examine Firearm Safety Policies on Campus – Develop and implement evidence-based policies regarding violence prevention and firearm  safety on the institution’s campuses.


APTR recognizes firearm violence as a public health epidemic requiring comprehensive interventions and a health systems approach. 

  • Support a community-based public health approach to the prevention of firearm violence in the United States.

  • Engage key stakeholders through professional organizations, educational community outreach, institutional & organizational policy development.

  • Advocate for unrestricted funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research into the causes of firearm violence and specifically increase funding for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the National Violent Death Reporting System to support nationwide expansion.

  • Advocate for accrediting bodies to include competencies on firearm violence and research.

To review the complete Firearm Violence Prevention Policy Statement >> Click Here

To access the Firearm Violence Prevention Toolkit >> Click Here

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