APA again calls for gun reform in wake of Texas mass shooting

Washington — Following is a statement by Frank C. Worrell, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, in response to the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left at least 21 people dead, 19 of them children:

“The American Psychological Association is devastated to see yet another mass shooting in our nation—this one at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas—just 10 days after another gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, seemingly targeting Black people and killing 10.

“The impact of these acts of violence is not limited to the number of days these stories stay in the headlines. In addition to the tragic loss of life, psychological science suggests that such horrific events lead to significant post-traumatic distress among victims and bystanders and are triggers for those who have experienced similar violent events. In addition, these episodes add to the mounting evidence that gun violence is an American public health crisis.

“It is long past time to act to ensure that our schools are safe havens for our children, and that stores, places of worship and our streets are safe for everyone.

“A public health crisis requires a public health approach. APA has long advocated for gun safety, including background checks of prospective gun buyers, safe gun storage, laws implementing extreme risk protection orders and substantially more research into the psychological factors that lead to gun violence.

“Along with so many others, APA is angry and frustrated that Congress and the states have failed to act—and in some cases have loosened restrictions on access to firearms.

“We cannot become numb to gun violence in our communities. We call on Congress to pass legislation now to stem the spread of firearms, promote their safe usage and storage and establish community-based teams that include police, mental health educators and community advocates who can de-escalate situations with individuals who are at risk of using guns to commit violence or harm themselves.”

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