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Gun Violence and NASW Advocacy, Resources

Only 10 days after the racist-fueled mass shooting of 10 Black people in a Buffalo, New York, grocery—a crime that amplified NASW’s ongoing call to action on gun violence—the unthinkable happened again. This time the atrocity occurred in Uvalde, Texas, in the classroom of 19 second-, third-, and fourth-grade children who were murdered alongside their two teachers. Another 17 students and police officers were injured, and the gunman was killed.

NASW has urgently appealed to national lawmakers to make genuine progress toward evidence-informed gun laws such as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 8) and Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R.1446), which would strengthen and expand background checks. In addition, the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021 (S.1819/H.R.3480) would establish a national “red-flag” law restricting access to firearms by individuals at risk to themselves or others.

“As a nation, we keep saying enough is enough, and then nothing happens. This moment must be the tipping point, the moment when the aggravating frustration and heartache spurs policy change, new procedures, and proactive measures that protect life, including our children and youth,” says NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW.

The U.S. has experienced 27 major school shootings to date, and six out of 10 deaths by suicide are caused by guns. Gunfire also is the leading cause of death for children under age 19.

Unwilling to wait for new federal legislation, NASW has partnered with The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to diminish gun-related injuries and deaths. The two organizations are focusing on state and national gun safety programs proven to reduce home-based gun deaths and injuries caused by suicide, domestic violence, and accidents.

As a first step in the partnership, NASW and The Brady Campaign have co-published and updated a 10-page brief outlining “Tools for Social Workers to Prevent Gun Violence: Safe Storage of Guns in the Home, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and Other Methods of Gun Violence Prevention.”

The brief shares stark numbers, background, and tools related to gun violence and safety issues regarding children and teens, as well as adults. The Virginia Chapter will be sharing more from this brief and ongoing research and legislative progress in future newsletter issues:

In the United States, 124,761 people are shot annually--342 people injured or killed on average each day. Of the latter, a shocking 47 are children and adolescents, seven of whom die.

  • One-third of American homes with children contains a gun, and 4.6 million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun. Thousands of children and teens are killed, injured, or commit suicide because of easy access to an unsecured gun.

  • More than 75% of school shootings are carried out with an unsecured gun from the home.

  • Gun injuries, including many from assaults, sent 75,003 children and teenagers to emergency rooms over nine years at a cost of almost $3 billion.

  • Eleven of every 100,000 children and teenagers treated in U.S. emergency rooms have gun-related injuries.

  • Bullet-inflicted injuries can be “physically and emotionally devastating, especially to children and teenagers. Just as important, the trauma of gun-related deaths and injuries can last a lifetime and affect not only the victims, but their families and communities.”


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