UofL will help study economic costs of gun violence as part of Whitney/Strong grant

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By UofL News

The University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences’ Youth Violence Prevention Research Center will participate in grant-funded research to study the long-term economic costs of gun violence.

The $85,200 grant was awarded by the Jewish Heritage Fund to Whitney/Strong, a non-profit focused on responsible gun ownership and finding common ground solutions to end gun violence. Working alongside UofL SPHIS on the research is the Louisville Metro Office of Safe and Health Neighborhoods. 

“Gun violence is a tragic product of structural violence ingrained in our community’s historical and current context. We are hopeful that a clear, data-driven illustration of the far-reaching economic costs of gun violence will help build political will to address the structures underlying the violence in Louisville,” said Monique Williams, faculty member in the UofL SPHIS Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Louisville Metro Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.

While other studies have been conducted to quantify the cost of gun violence to taxpayers and governments, Whitney/Strong’s study aims to provide a more in-depth view of the economic impacts of specific incidents of gun violence, the resulting impact on youth, and how investment in gun violence prevention can increase tax revenue and family wealth in high-violence areas, while also increasing protective factors for healthy youth development. Whitney/Strong hopes to share the completed results of the study by the end of 2022. 

“Gun violence does more than harm individuals and families; each and every act of gun violence has an effect on entire communities in ways we’re only now beginning to understand. Our hope is to better recognize those effects and help spur action that, ultimately, can save lives,” said Whitney Austin, founder of Whitney/Strong and survivor of gun violence. “With record gun violence in Louisville, year after year, we need to have a better understanding of just what our city is giving up by not tackling this issue. I’m eager to get this study underway so we can better see that preventing gun violence is not a problem for one neighborhood or just an issue for our city government. Gun violence is devastating to every facet of our community’s health – physical, mental and economic – and understanding the extent of that harm will bring us one step closer to preventing more suffering.”

This story originally appeared on the SPHIS website