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
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
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
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
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