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Rutgers announces eight new studies on gun violence

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Rutgers’ New Jersey Center of Gun Violence Research has announced eight studies on gun violence and prevention to be led by University faculty, according to a press release. 

The research will look into when and why people carry guns and how they are perceived, how built environments can mitigate and prevent gun violence, the causes of gun violence in different demographic groups and strategies to reduce gun violence.

It also covers the correlation between homicide rates and the level of access to legal firearm dealers, how state spending in mental health is correlated to reductions in violent crime rates.

An FBI database to analyze factors that influence the number of police fatalities, how the prevalence of gun violence impacts a person’s reaction to threatening stimuli and an evaluation into the white supremacist event in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, will also be included, according to the release. 

“New Jersey has been proud to lead the nation in the creation of a legal and policy framework to stem the tide of gun violence, and first among our efforts has been the Center on Gun Violence Research at Rutgers whose work fills the gap left by inaction at the federal level,” said Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), according to the release. “Through the Center’s groundbreaking, multidisciplinary research into the causes and consequences of gun violence, we can take an informed, scientific approach to preventing the needless suffering and loss of life that plagues our communities. Our administration congratulates today’s grant recipients and looks forward to their research that can inform our gun violence prevention efforts.” 

The New Jersey Center for Gun Violence Research is 1 of 2 state-funded centers in the United States that focus on interdisciplinary research on the causes, consequences and solutions for gun-related violence, according to the release. 

“Our goal is to create new insights into how society can prevent and mitigate the incidence of gun violence,” said Paul Boxer, the center’s research core director and a professor of psychology at Rutgers—Newark. “We selected these projects for their innovative and interdisciplinary approaches, and their promise to promote public health and prevent violence through new theory, practice and policy.”

Last year, The Daily Targum reported that, in a partnership with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Az.) and her husband Mark Kelly’s foundation, New Jersey donated a $2 million grant to the University to launch the New Jersey Center for Gun Violence Research. 

Giffords was the victim of an assassination attempt and mass shooting while meeting with constituents near Tucson, Arizona, on Jan. 8, 2011. Giffords would survive the attack, but not without permanent brain damage, Kelly said at the event. But she now suffers from aphasia, which causes difficulty with language and speaking, according to the article.

She and Kelly have since devoted their lives to advocating for the prevention of gun violence and stricter gun control, according to the article. Their organization has tried to combat campaign funding by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which gives to pro-gun control candidates across the country, including in New Jersey.

“(Giffords and Kelly) been showing a way for people to understand the problems associated with the epidemic of gun violence,” said former Gov. James Florio (D-N.J.), the Targum reported at the time. “As with any other epidemic with the need for education and the need for remediation.”

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