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NASW grieves for families of Florida school shooting, urges President Trump and Congress to declare gun violence public health crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Once again our nation is experiencing the horror of a mass shooting in a school. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) grieves for the families of the 17 students and teachers slain at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and hopes the 15 people who were injured recover.

It is disturbing to note the United States leads the world in mass shootings and mass shooting deaths. According to the Gun Violence Archive there have already been 6,739 gun violence incidents in the United States this year resulting in 1,859 deaths. More than 400 of those killed and injured were children and teenagers.

When we look at annualized data, the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that more than 33,000 Americans die from gun-related incidents each year. 

Mass shootings such as those at Douglas High School and the shooting deaths of 58 people in Las Vegas last October, rightfully galvanize the American public. However, gun violence in this country is an everyday occurrence. 

As discussed in NASW’s Social Justice Brief Gun Violence in the American Culture, gun violence is a public health crisis that impacts individuals and families from every culture, age group, and geographical area in the United States.

Moreover, while we are saddened by the 33,000 lives that are lost each year we tend to forget the hundreds of thousand individuals who suffer life-changing injuries and emotional trauma due to gun violence.  

NASW agrees with most Americans that “enough is enough," especially when we have to bury so many children because of senseless gun violence. Therefore, we strongly urge President Trump and both houses of Congress to treat gun violence as a public health crisis. 

If gun violence becomes a public health crisis, public health officials around the country will be mandated to develop coordinated strategies to significantly reduce gun-related deaths and injuries. 

We further urge federal and state governments to implement sensible gun laws that ban the sale of assault rifles and high capacity magazines. In addition, states must move to pass background check laws for all gun purchases. 

Once again NASW offers its sympathies to the families of victims and the survivors who must continue to cope with the trauma of this experience. NASW and the NASW Florida Chapter stand ready to offer support to the community.


In the aftermath of the shooting the NASW Florida Chapter offered community resources and action items for social workers. Learn more.

For more information on efforts to reduce gun-violence please visit The Brady Campaign 

Read this in-depth New York Times article on gun violence as a public health crisis

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.