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Gun Violence


Much research has been conducted in the area of gun violence in America. Psychologists and other public health professionals are using that research to devise effective ways to reduce gun violence to enhance public health.

In December 2014, the PA Psychological Association made the decision to follow the lead of the American Psychological Association in matters pertaining to gun violence and gun control policy. Here are a list of resources from APA about gun violence.

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.

  • Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention and Policy 
    Major APA study emphasizes role of healthy early development and access to mental health services for those who need it.

  • 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.

  • Engaging Communities in Reducing Gun Violence: A Road Map for Safer Communities 
    A report from the Urban Institute, the Joyce Foundation, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic.

  • What has PPA Done?

  • Under the leadership of Dr. Beatrice Salter, PPA formed the Interpersonal Violence Task Force (now the Interpersonal Violence Committee) with a charge of having psychologists address multiple areas of interpersonal violence, including the lasting impact of these experiences on the attainment of developmental stages, positive interpersonal relationships and healthy coping skills. This committee oversaw the development of the Psychology Can Help website, which provides information and resources about a variety of topics related to interpersonal violence.
  • PPA established community partnerships and made this effort a cornerstone of its 2016 Advocacy Day including a press conference with community partners which featured the PA Office of Victim Advocate, PA Chiefs of Police Association and Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry Counties. Two legislators, Representative Madeleine Dean and Representative Todd Stephens, both of Montgomery County joined us and spoke about the importance of our efforts. 
  • The PPA2016 annual convention focused on the theme of overcoming interpersonal violence throughout the lifespan, with nearly half of the total workshops involving the topic of interpersonal violence. In addition, our Keynote speaker Diane Rosenfeld, JD and Psychology in PA luncheon speaker Dr. Susan Sorensen addressed specific forms of violence, campus rape and gun violence, respectively. 
  • What Can You Do?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Contact your member of Congress to support research to understand the best approaches to preventing gun violence.
  • The National Register of Health Service Psychologists (PDF, 3.02MB) has a brief reference sourcebook for psychologists on gun violence and the psychological response to mass violence.
PPA understands that this is an important issue for many of our members. For more information, please contact us at 717-232-3817.