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NASW offers sympathies to families of the victims of Virginia Beach shootings


WASHINGTON, D.C. - This past Friday, 12 people were shot and killed and six more injured by a coworker at a municipal government building in Virginia Beach, VA. The shooter was armed with a .45 caliber handgun with a “sound suppressor” and a high capacity extension, both of which contributed to the number of casualties. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) expresses our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and our support for the leaders and citizens of Virginia Beach.  We also convey outrage that these senseless tragedies continue to occur.

There have been 148 mass shootings and almost as many fatalities since January 1 – with Virginia Beach having the highest number of fatalities to date in one shooting. Astoundingly, in the month of May alone, there were 198 people wounded in mass shootings, for a total of 585 since the first of the year.

We may never know what motivated the Virginia Beach shooter to take the lives of his coworkers. But we do know that this unceasing national crisis calls for a comprehensive response that addresses the systemic causes of gun violence, including mental health, public health, criminal justice and other dimensions. NASW is heartened that the 2019 federal budget includes critically needed funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Health to conduct research on the causes and prevention of gun violence. We urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring the Bipartisan Background Checks Act to the floor for a vote so all Senators can go on the record and show whether they are willing to take commonsense action now against gun violence. 

The time for meaningful action is past due. NASW will continue to work on multiple fronts, with Brady and other allies, to push for change.

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.

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