lence has been associated with drug markets. A number of situational-level factors are also associated with increased risk of violence in general and firearm violence in particular. For example, the presence of drugs or alcohol increases the risk of firearm violence. Moreover, criminals often engage in violence as a means to acquire money, goods, or other rewards.

A number of individual behaviors and susceptibilities are associated with firearm violence and injury. Impulsivity, low educational attainment, substance use, and prior history of aggression and abuse are considered risk factors for violence (for both perpetrators and victims). Suicide is often associated with mental and physical health problems, financial strain, veteran status, and relationship problems. Some studies have tried to provide accurate estimates of the proportions of the general population and subpopulations with access to firearms. Less is known about the types of weapons obtained, the means of acquisition, the frequency of gun carrying in public, community-level risk and protective factors (such as the role of social norms), and degree of knowledge about and skill in firearm operation and safety, as well as how these risk and protective factors are affected by the social environment and neighborhood/community context.

The committee identified the following key research topics as priorities for research on risk and protective factors.

Identify factors associated with youth having access to, possessing, and carrying guns.

Evaluate the potential health risks and benefits (e.g., suicide rates, personal protection) of having a firearm in the home under a variety of circumstances (including storage practices) and settings.

Improve understanding of risk factors that influence the probability of firearm violence in specific high-risk physical locations.


Research findings have been mixed on the effectiveness of interventions to prevent firearm violence. Successful interventions to reduce firearm-related injuries, as with many other examples in public health,

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement