Insights from Experts: Researching potential solutions to gun violence

Yellow school bus outside of a school.
Credit: Jose Alonso/

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — School shootings, which may appear to be common, actually represent only a small fraction of the gun violence that occurs in the U.S. each year, according to Lacey Wallace, associate professor of criminal justice at Penn State Altoona.

Although no action can bring back those lost in these acts of violence, individuals can try to see to it that any reactions are grounded in research evidence rather than political fervor and emotion, explains Wallace in a new Insights from Experts post.

In the article, Wallace documents incidents of gun violence, reasons for gun ownership, and the social context of violence and how we might better identify those facing mental challenges that might lead to violence. It is rare that a shooting truly occurs without warning, says Wallace: What can we do to better see those signs? To make it possible for people to share concerns while respecting individual privacy? To provide the care that at-risk individuals need in a timely manner? Read more in Wallace's post.

For more information on gun violence, mental health, COVID-19 and other issues, visit the Insights from Experts website — a partnership of Penn State's Social Science Research Institute and the Center for Health Care and Policy Research.