adults. This kind of difference will affect the success of any prevention strategy.

It is ultimately important, of course, to understand the unique characteristics of all types and subtypes of violence. However, resources focused on three specific populations—(1) the general population, (2) the general youth population, and (3) the offender population—should yield actionable information over the short term. The exact number and distribution of guns and gun types in the United States are unknown, but for each of these populations it would be valuable to have counts of total guns owned, their attributes (i.e., general type, caliber, firing mechanism), how the guns were acquired (i.e., purchased, received as a gift, traded for, stolen, etc.), and information on the sources of the guns (i.e., licensed gun dealers, friends or relatives, gun traffickers, owners of stolen guns, and so on). It also would be valuable to better understand both the violent and relevant nonviolent and self-protective behaviors of individuals with firearms.

The committee identified the following key research topics as priorities for research on characteristics of firearm violence.

Characterize the scope of and motivations for gun acquisition, ownership, and use, and how they are distributed across subpopulations.

Characterize differences in nonfatal and fatal gun use across the United States.


The risk posed by guns is affected by a number of modifiable and unmodifiable factors, ranging from how securely guns are stored to complex society-, community-, situational-, and individual-level predictors. Society-level correlates of increased rates of firearm violence include, but are not limited to, cultural norms that support violence as an acceptable way to resolve conflicts; attitudes that regard suicide as inevitable instead of a preventable act of violence; and health, educational, economic, and social policies that maintain high levels of economic or social inequality among groups in society.

At the community level, a range of factors appears to be related to high levels of gun use. These factors include high rates of poverty, illicit drug trafficking, and substance use. For example, increased firearm vio-

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