Understanding Gun Violence: Factors Associated With Beliefs Regarding Guns, Gun Policies, and Gun Violence

Jul 01, 2021 | by
  • Description

Gun violence is a pressing public health concern, particularly in the United States. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a record-breaking year with 43,551 deaths attributed to gun violence in the U.S., with almost 20,000 classified as murder/unintentional death and more than 24,000 classified as suicide (Gun Violence Archive, 2021). Black men are 10 times more likely to die from gun violence than are white men (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020c). Yet, in proportion to these sobering statistics, researchers' knowledge of the range of causes and possible remedies remains negligible. The purpose of this Special Issue of the Psychology of Violence devoted to Gun Violence was to highlight and spur additional, psychologically oriented research regarding firearm violence. Method: This Special Issue consists of seven original U.S.-based studies that address various aspects of gun violence, including individual, geographical, psychological, and sociological factors associated with attitudes toward guns, gun policies, and gun violence. Results: Individually and collectively, these studies provide novel insights regarding different types of gun perceptions and beliefs. These works consider a wide range of factors including media exposure, beliefs about the link between mental illness and gun violence, cumulative trauma, masculinity norms, regional norms, and trust in law enforcement. Discussion: This Special Issue is intended to spark greater interest in working to mitigate firearm violence and encourage researchers across scientific disciplines to collaboratively apply their theoretical perspectives and methodologies to reduce the devastating, but understudied, U.S. gun violence epidemic.

Understanding Gun Violence: Factors Associated With Beliefs Regarding Guns, Gun Policies, and Gun Violence