Much of the debate has focused on gun regulation and keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of potential killers, particularly people with mental illness. Unfortunately, much less attention has been paid to the impact of gun violence on victims. While people killed and injured in atrocities such as the Sandy Hook and Aurora Theater shootings are publicly commemorated and mourned, the victims of these tragedies are not limited to the men, women and children who were killed, injured or present during these horrific events. The consequences of armed violence are more widespread, affecting entire communities, families and children. With more than 25% of children who have witnessed an act of violence in their homes, schools or community in the past year, and more than 5% witness a shooting, it becomes not only a matter of gun regulation, but also addressing the impact on those traumatized by such violence (Finkelhor et al., 2009).

Gunshot wounds are often life-changing and have an indelible impact on the long-term mental and physical health of victims. Some need lifelong permanent care, and many others lose their ability to work, especially in physically demanding jobs. However, programs that provide adequate long-term care, rehabilitation and retraining are virtually nonexistent.

However, studies have shown that medical counseling can reduce firearm injuries and death. In addition, AAP representatives and emergency medical groups note that not much training is needed to recommend keeping weapons away from children. Solutions to address mass shootings in the United States are the same as those identified to prevent other forms of gun violence and include a national licensing and registration system along with thorough background checks. However, public mass shootings have a profound emotional and psychological effect on survivors, families and communities. They have created an environment in which people feel unsafe in public places, such as churches, schools, concert halls and cinemas, undermining their human rights in religion, education and leisure. The state has a duty to maximize the protection of human rights and create the safest environment for the majority of people, especially those considered most threatened.

18- to 20-year-olds committed homicides at a rate of 6.95 per 100,000 people in the same age group in the U.S. population, compared with a rate of 2.31 per 100,000 adults over the age of 21. Preventing children’s exposure to violence and limiting the impact of previous exposure is too big a task for any group or organization. Agencies should embrace the message of the CWLA National Plan and encourage communities to take responsibility for the well-being of children and youth. Combating the negative impact of violence on children and young people requires the collaboration of teachers, principals, social workers, police officers, doctors, parents, friends and more. Every person has a role to play, whether it’s detecting exposure to violence, reducing the impact of violence through emotional support, or preventing violence through community activism and policy initiatives. Only when all facets of society recognize the real negative impact that exposure to violence has on the well-being of children, young people, families and communities, and actively work to address this problem will substantial change occur.

The training ensures that gun owners are educated about responsible practices for handling and using firearms, storing them safely at home and carrying weapons in public. Gun permits should be limited in time, and training on the use of the weapon should be mandatory. The number and type of weapons a person may possess should also be strictly limited in accordance with the Firearms training principles of necessity and credible justification. In many states, students under the age of 21 cannot carry firearms on campus because they are prohibited from possessing handguns. Gun violence prevention measures for our schools should focus on educating children and parents about the dangers of firearms and the importance of safe storage, rather than arming teachers.

When people are afraid of gun violence, it can also negatively impact people’s right to education or health care when they are too afraid to attend schools or health centers or if these services are not fully functioning due to gun violence in their community. Delaware also requires training to include live-fire shooting practice in a range, including spending a minimum of 100 rounds of ammunition and identifying ways to develop and maintain firearm shooting skills. Finally, Rhode Island requires applicants to obtain certification that they are qualified to use a gun of a caliber equal to or larger than the gun they wish to carry.

Unlicensed wearing legislation strips states of essential standards for background checks, permits and training for carrying concealed weapons in public. It’s part of the gun lobby’s broader agenda to weaken critical gun safety laws, allowing for more guns everywhere, which in turn has led to an increase in gun violence. Most Americans support concealed carrying licensing systems that provide firearm safety training and ensure that only responsible gun owners can carry concealed weapons in public. While standards and processes vary, these states often require applicants to pass a criminal background check, complete safety training, complete live-fire shooting drills, and be residents of the state. Many of these states also give law enforcement the authority to deny permits to people who pose a danger to the public.