By Amalia Corby-Edwards, MS (Senior Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer, APA Public Interest Directorate)
June 2nd marks the second annual observance of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, also known as “Wear Orange Day”.
The financial cost of gun violence in the United States was an estimated $229 billion in 2012; this amount does not account for the psychological toll on those directly or indirectly affected by firearm violence–those who witness or fear firearm violence in their homes or communities or who are left behind when a loved one dies by suicide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- In 2013, there were 33,636 firearm deaths in the U.S. and more than 84,000 non-fatal firearm injuries.
- Firearms are involved in more than half of suicides and more than 2/3 of homicides in the United States.
- There are more than 30,000 firearm fatalities each year in the United States and more than 80,000 non-fatal injuries requiring emergency medical care or hospitalization.
As outlined in our 2013 report, Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy, APA supports a public health approach to gun violence prevention and works with violence prevention allies to support federal research, training, and services.
In the past year, these efforts have included:
- Working with CDC’s STRYVE initiative to promote comprehensive youth violence prevention efforts.
- Advocating in Congress for gun violence prevention research, juvenile justice and criminal justice reform, trauma informed school policies, and mental health reform.
- Holding a Congressional briefing on Native American suicide prevention.
- Responded to a New York Times editorial in support of comprehensive background checks on all gun sales.
We must learn more about how to use this knowledge to evaluate and promote preventive interventions. Otherwise we will never succeed in reducing the tragic harm from firearm violence that we have seen occur in recent mass shootings, and in daily unpublicized incidents of gang shootings, intimate partner violence, impulsive suicide, and accidental shootings.
So, join us. Take the pledge to wear orange and get loud about gun violence.