Social Work Practice and Gun Safety in the United States
Are We Doing Enough?
Keywords:Guns, firearms, suicide, social work, Gun safety, violence prevention
Public policy debate about guns continues in the United States, with many professional organizations taking strong stands in policy statements. Moreover, many clinical organizations have provided recommendations for practitioners to use with clients to encourage gun safety in the home, particularly for vulnerable populations such as families with young children and those at risk of suicide. Social workers are in an excellent position to encourage gun safety with some of the most at-risk populations; however, clinical guidelines and research on preventing gun violence has lagged in social work compared to other disciplines. In this article we examine the importance of gun safety for social work clients (with special attention to families with children, families experiencing violence, and individuals at risk of suicide), consider the recommendations made by other professional organizations, and provide some initial thoughts about how social workers might engage with the families they serve to reduce the incidence of gun violence.
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