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AL – GUN CONTROL – USA professors get grant for effort to reduce gun-related deaths, suicides

Two University of South Alabama professors are getting a huge chunk of change for a project that aims to reduce gun-related deaths and suicides. They are tackling this from a psychological angle and they want people to know getting rid of guns is not on the table. “The purpose of this project is to figure out why is this happening and what we can do to prevent all of these deaths and save lives,” said Dr. Krista Mehari, the Principal Investigator on the study. The right to bear arms is a guarantee in America and a 2020 report estimates there are 400 million guns in the U.S. A very small number have been used to kill. CDC data shows more than half of all suicides and about 75% of murders are done using a firearm. Two South Alabama professors are now looking into it. It is known as Project Grip: Gun-related injury prevention. The team just got a $1.8 million grant from the CDC to spend the next three years getting the perspective of people who own guns to improve public health strategies. “This project is about bridging the communication gap between the people who own and use and value guns and the people who are working to prevent homicides and suicides,” Dr. Mehari said. The focus will be on groups heavily impacted by gun injuries. The researchers do not expect any push back from the gun owners work with. One of the professors involved is a gun owner himself. “I think if we come at this acknowledging that we are not trying to take away guns, we’re not trying to restrict access to guns or lobby for any political agenda, what we’re trying to do is save lives and we’re going to work together to that end, I think we’ll come together and do that,” said Dr. Phillip Smith, a co-investigator on the study. The researchers say this type of study is new and hope it will impact public health for years to come. “The problem is not that guns exist the problem is to understand when are people choosing to use guns to hurt themselves or other people,” Dr. Mehari said.  [full article]

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