University of Michigan researchers work on solutions to curb gun violence without getting rid of firearms

University of Michigan researchers are working to prevent another deadly mass shooting.

"There are a lot of families and people across the United States; if you start to talk about this issue, they know somebody who’s been killed or injured by firearms," said Dr. Patrick Carter, the co-director at the Institute of Firearm Injury Prevention at U of M.

More than 18 months ago, the university invested money to address gun deaths, which soared to a record more than 48,000 in 2021, and gun-related injuries, of which 7 out of every 10 are from firearm assaults, according to the CDC.

The institute pulls experts from all 19 schools on campus to solve a serious public health problem.

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"When we think about the solutions to these types of problems, including mass violence, including these horrific, wide scale events, we need to think about how we approach this in a solution way that thinks about how to reduce harm and injury," Carter said.

The program covers a range of issues from gun violence between people to mass shootings.

Although the institute is in its infancy, it’s been around for two local deadly school mass shootings, which made national headlines — Oxford High School in November 2021 and Michigan State University last month.

Carter says instead of active shooter drills and school resource officers, which can re-traumatize the people involved, they’re working with students and educators.

"For example, they’re working on schools on how do you adapt and change school climate so that we can reduce incidents of bullying and violence that leads and escalates into lethal violence that involves firearms," he said.

But as we’ve seen time and again, finding solutions can be polarizing.

Carter, a trained emergency physician, says life-saving solutions are possible.

He drew a parallel to his work to lower deadly car crashes without taking cars off the road. Carter believes gun violence can be reduced without removing guns.