In recent years, gun violence has received significantly more attention from social work researchers than ever before. This has included the first-ever special issue on the topic in a social work journal (Health and Social Work, November 2019), the formation of a Special Interest Group on gun violence at the annual SSWR conference in 2020, and the first social justice brief on gun violence prevention from the NASW (Lanyi et al., 2019). However, engagement with the topic remains sparse among social workers compared to other disciplines, leaving frontline practitioners with little guidance as to how to best address the topic, though other disciplines have generated useful literature, particularly regarding the effects of policy changes on gun violence.
This roundtable focuses on the ways in which social work researchers can address the seemingly intractable problem of gun violence with attention to recent developments that may help or hinder efforts. Panelists are researchers focusing on trauma and violence prevention, with special expertise on a range of topics related to gun violence.
The first panelist will describe the magnitude and effects (epidemiology, socioeconomic costs, constitutional concerns, the power of pro-gun groups) of the problem of gun violence, with attention to how trends are affected in the current turbulent era. A second panelist will describe efforts to develop courses on gun violence prevention for social workers, both in the academic context and for continuing education. Next, a third panelist will present the findings on an intervention designed to bolster clinical social worker's skills in addressing access to lethal means. Finally, a fourth panelist will provide information on funding opportunities available to social work researchers.
Beyond these presentations, this roundtable will highlight both the successes and failures of attempts to generate a new social work research agenda to stem the tide of gun violence with the aim of kickstarting more collaborations and research. Time will be provided for engagement with attendees to discuss their research on this issue.