• Which characteristics strengthen the resilience of specific community locations?
• What is the effect of stress and trauma on community violence, especially firearm-related violence?
• What is the effect of concentrated disadvantage on community violence, especially firearm-related violence?
Successful interventions to reduce firearm-related injuries, like many other public health efforts, must involve the health and public safety communities, educators, and other community groups. During the past 20 years, significant declines in death and injury from automobile crashes, fires, and drowning have been achieved through comprehensive prevention strategies that recognize the characteristics of the agent, the victim, and the physical and social environment in which the injury occurred. A similar public health framework may be particularly effective in the case of gun violence (Hemenway, 2001; Hemenway and Miller, 2013) if the interactions of these characteristics are analyzed.
Prevention strategies may affect one or all of these players through a systems or holistic approach, and they can be applied at the time and location of imminent risk (e.g., removing guns temporarily when suicide risk is high), at times of transition (e.g., under an order of protection for domestic violence), or prior to periods of high risk (e.g., interventions for young children).
For more than two decades, research findings on the effectiveness of interventions to prevent firearm violence have been mixed. Gun possession is associated with violence, but direct causation is difficult to establish. A paucity of reliable and valid data, as discussed in the sections above, is a major barrier to the development of the most effective policies, strategies, and interventions for prevention of firearm violence. Nonetheless, many interventions have been developed and studied, and they point to areas requiring important additional research.