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There has been some success with community-based programs involving police training in crisis intervention and with community members trained in mental health first aid.
These programs need further piloting and study so they can be expanded to additional communities as appropriate.
Every day in the United States, approximately 30 persons die of homicides and 53 persons die of suicides committed by someone using a gun (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2013a).
Guns also provide individuals with the capacity to carry out multiple-fatality shootings that inflict great trauma and grief on our society, and the public rightly insists on action to make our communities safer. At the federal level, President Barack Obama announced a new “Now Is the Time” plan (White House, 2013) to address firearm violence to better protect children and communities and issued 23 related executive orders to federal agencies.
Prevention efforts can also reduce the relatively rare occasions when severe mental illness contributes to homicide or the more common circumstances when depression or other mental illness contributes to suicide.
In addition, public health messaging campaigns on safe gun storage are needed.
The practice of keeping all firearms appropriately stored and locked must become the only socially acceptable norm.
Gun violence is an urgent, complex, and multifaceted problem.
It requires evidence-based, multifaceted solutions. Psychology can make important contributions to policies that prevent gun violence.
More information and supporting citations can be found within the chapters themselves.