Gun Violence March 2021

American Academy of Nursing Statement

Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis that Must End

March 23, 2021

The horrific tragedy yesterday in Boulder, Colorado is a stark reminder that the impact of gun violence is a devastating public health crisis that must be addressed in order to put an end to mass shootings. In a one-week span, there have been seven mass shootings across the nation.[1] We are grieving again for the victims, their families, and the communities that mourn with them while trying to comprehend the senseless loss of life. For many years, the American Academy of Nursing (Academy) has consistently called for action on gun violence and this continues to be a priority issue area for the Academy’s Expert Panel on Violence.[2],[3],[4]

The evidence is clear that gun violence affects the public’s health broadly.[5],[6] From mass shootings to suicide, each life lost by gun violence is an avoidable tragedy. As noted in the Academy’s transition letter to the Biden Administration, the Academy continues to support policy solutions such as the expansion of background checks as well as increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.[7] Funding is urgently needed to conduct national research and public health surveillance on firearm-related injuries.[8]

“At a time when the nation is suffering from the overwhelming impact of the pandemic and racism is tearing communities apart, our nation needs healing, not more pain. Nurses are at the center of this healing,” said Academy President Eileen Sullivan Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN. “To this end, the Academy will continue advancing policies to end gun violence and support real progress towards a safer and less violent future as we work towards healthy lives for all people.”

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[1]Josh Berlinger (March 23, 2021). “The Colorado attack is the 7th mass shooting in 7 days in the US.” CNN. Retrieved from:

[2] American Academy of Nursing. (September 26, 2019). American Academy of Nursing Supports Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence [Press release]. Retrieved from:

[3] Angela Amar, Linda Beeber, Kathryn Laughon, and Michael J. Rice. (May 2013). American Academy of Nursing on Policy: Reducing firearm violence. Nursing Outlook. Retrieved from:

[4] American Academy of Nursing. (August 2019). Academy sent a letter to Congressional leadership calling on them to act to prevent future gun violence. Retrieved from:

[5]Rosa M. Gonzalez-Guarda, Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, Marie Ann Marino, Jocelyn C. Anderson, Kathryn Laughon. (May 2018). American Academy of Nursing on policy: Recommendations in response to mass shootings. Nursing Outlook. Retrieved from:

[6] Karen Cox. (May 2018). President’s Message: A public health crisis: Recommendations to reduce gun violence in America. Nursing Outlook. Retrieved from:

[7] Letter to the Biden Transition Team. (December 2020). Retrieved from:

[8] Letter to U.S. House Committee on Appropriations. (March 30, 2020). Retrieved from: