While there are numerous causes of gun violence, recent events like the Fort Hood shooting have brought the topic into focus once again. It is vital that all facets of society understand the negative effects of this form of violence and begin active action to reduce it. Here are some examples of the negative effects of gun violence on children:
Depending on the type of firearm used, the victim may be at risk of suffering from chronic health conditions or a traumatic experience. Gun violence may lead to a range of physical and psychological problems, affecting victims’ family and education. The impact of firearm injuries may also affect a community’s quality of life and deprivation. By identifying the broader health consequences of gun violence, we can begin to address them in a more effective way.
In addition to the physical effects of gun violence, children in the United States suffer disproportionately high rates of gun-related deaths. Last year, gun-related deaths accounted for more than 40,000 American lives. And children of color are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. They are the leading cause of death among young Black men in the country. Further, a child who has been exposed to gun violence often experiences psychological problems that last a lifetime.
One of the major effects of gun violence is the loss of a sibling. This may have long-lasting negative effects, lowering educational attainment and decreasing a child’s chance of reaching adult milestones. Moreover, the ripple effects of gun violence affect communities and entire communities. A community that has experienced gun violence often experiences increased levels of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric problems. There are also numerous other side effects of gun violence, which include the resulting stigma and social isolation.
Another major effect of gun violence is the triggering of secondary trauma. While the victims themselves are usually the ones suffering the psychological effects, the perpetrators are also vulnerable to secondary trauma. Health care workers and first responders who witness gun violence may experience secondary trauma. Some survivors even fear the perpetrators will seek revenge on them. They may also avoid the location where the violence occurred or limit their social activities. If the effects of gun violence are severe enough, they may experience depression and suicidal behavior.
Intimate partner homicides with guns are twice as high as those committed with other weapons. Furthermore, women of color who experience intimate partner homicides are significantly more likely to be killed by guns than their white counterparts. Further, 53% of women killed by firearms were black, and this trend has only increased. In addition, the increase in gun violence has led to reduced home values in the neighborhood. It has also decreased homeownership rates.
Youth who experience exposure to gun violence may develop long-term psychological and developmental consequences. It is important to develop effective strategies to reduce community violence and enhance the sense of safety for children. Youth who are exposed to violent environments experience higher levels of fear than youth living in safe and relatively peaceful communities. Furthermore, youth living in urban areas and females are more likely to suffer from high levels of fear. To understand the long-term effects of this type of violence, it is vital to measure the level of exposure on multiple levels: the duration, severity, and physical proximity of exposure.