Another School Shooting Prompts Renewed Focus on Ending Gun Violence

The Giffords Law Center recently released a report in response to the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The report titled “Protecting the Parkland Generation: Strategies to Keep America’s Kids Safe from Gun Violence” describes how children and communities are impacted by increasing gun violence. The report also provides four strategies for preventing gun violence. The research highlights the growing numbers of children impacted, the trauma they experience and the economic costs felt by the community. The recommendations for reducing gun violence are based on the analysis of existing policies and laws.

The initial physical and emotional impact of a school shooting or any form of gun violence is clear to the outside observer but the lingering effects are less noticeable and understood. This report studies the lasting effects and future well-being of survivors. The report claims, “Exposure to gun violence is especially traumatic for children and teens because their brains are still malleable and developing. Witnessing gun violence can actually alter the shape of children’s brains, impairing normal development.”

The report also describes the economic costs of gun violence. According to the report, ” Economists have estimated that gun violence among youth alone costs at least $21 billion each year. For all Americans, that figure is over $229 billion.”

In response to it’s  findings the report recommends efforts should focus on four areas, “… enact laws to prevent children and teens from getting hold of guns, prevent high-risk people (including domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill) from purchasing firearms, and fund programs that have demonstrated success in preventing and reducing community-based gun violence.”

The report concludes with, “Lawmakers have a critical role to play in preventing gun violence and protecting our kids. A generation of young people has been profoundly impacted by violence in this country. And they’re looking to legislators with the courage and conviction to lead on this issue and enact the solutions described in this report.”

Registered users may access the report here, and non-registered users may access it here. The HSDL offers many related resources.