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In Las Vegas aftermath, NASW renews call for gun violence to be declared national public health emergency

Action would enable funding, develop policies to prevent gun injuries, fatalities

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) expresses its condolences to the families of the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in the nation’s history.

NASW shares the frustrations that many Americans are experiencing after hearing the news of the horrendous violence inflicted on people who were merely enjoying a concert on a beautiful fall evening. Like many, NASW believes it is time to put an end to the epidemic of gun violence in our nation. 

There has been a seemingly unending stream of mass shootings over the past decade. Thus far in 2017, 305 persons have been killed and 1,592 wounded due to a mass shooting, which is defined as four or more persons shot in a single incident. The alarming fact is that deaths from mass shootings, including the Las Vegas shootings, account for a relatively small part of the almost 35,000 overall gun-involved deaths that occur each year.   

In the July 2017 NASW Social Justice Brief “Gun Violence in the American Culture,” this association took the position that gun violence has reached such epidemic proportions that federal and state health officials must declare this to be a national public health emergency.   

In so doing, officials must allocate funds and develop policies that prevent and greatly reduce mortality and morbidity rates associated with gun violence. As a nation, we have mobilized to respond to the opioid crisis using proven public health strategies. NASW believes the same should be done to respond to the national gun violence crisis.   

We also agree with the Brady Campaign when it stated that “We need comprehensive gun safety laws to protect our citizens from these random acts of violence that threaten our everyday lives.” NASW joins the call for Congress pass gun legislation to ensure the safety of all Americans.      

For more information contact NASW Social Justice and Human Rights Manager Mel Wilson at


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.