Firearm Violence Prevention

A critical public health issue.

ending an epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 33,000 people are killed and another 60,000 are injured every year in incidents involving firearms. Firearm violence is increasingly recognized as a public health issue, with groups like the American Public Health Association working to convene partners to focus on prevention, targeting individuals at highest risk, and promoting multi-disciplinary approaches.

Why it matters:

The statistics in the U.S. are stark – every day, 100 Americans are killed with firearms. Women in the U.S. are 21 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other countries, and in an average month, 52 women are shot to death by their partners and many more are injured. Closer to home, the numbers are just as bleak. In 2014, Missouri’s homicide rate was ninth highest, and in 2017 it ranked fifth highest in firearm deaths per capita. Homicide is the leading cause of death among African Americans in St. Louis aged 15-44.

How we’re changing things:

Realizing there was a lack of consistent, reliable information on firearm violence across the state and that the field needed more development and coordination, we set out to test different community-based approaches to address this epidemic. After cultivating a few promising projects with our community partners, we publicly kicked off our firearm violence prevention efforts in 2018.

Through our support of Better Family Life’s De-Escalation CentersSaint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective, and the St. Louis Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program – Life Outside of Violence, we are playing a role in connecting communities to critical resources and elevating information about the public health impacts of firearm violence.

Working to fill the gaps in knowledge about gun violence and what could be done to prevent it, in 2020 we partnered with the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research to conduct Missouri-specific research regarding different aspects of gun violence throughout our region.

Firearm suicide is another aspect of this issue that we are working to address. Learn more here.