GUn Violence Resources

SPN recognizes the impact of gun violence on children and families and is committed to providing resources to our members to help reduce gun violence injury and death. The SPN Healthcare Policy and Advocacy Committee (HPAC) has gathered the online resources below for nurses to support conversations with children and families on gun violence. Many of these resources are designed with parents and children in mind and we hope they can serve as talking points for patient-family education. The HPAC is always looking for additional resources that may benefit our membership. Please forward any new resources on gun violence reduction to

How to Talk to Children about Shootings: An Age-by-Age Guide (Today Show)   

Written content that provides age specific approaches for discussing gun violence and terror events with children. Practical information to answer questions without overwhelming the child. Content also contains interviews with children, parents and a child/adolescent psychologist. Approaches support recommendations made by the National Association of Schools Psychologists (NASP).

  • Parents can plan discussions with their child around violence and terror in a way that can positively or negatively impact the take away message.
  • Taking the child’s age into consideration when providing information will provide explanations in a way they can understand without overwhelming them.
  • The importance of listening to older children and enabling them to work toward change to improve their resilience. 
View Article 

How to Talk to Your Kids About Shootings and Gun Violence (Scientific American)

The article is written by a psychologist from Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. She provides eight tips to parents on how to handle response to the two most difficult questions children ask about shootings and gun violence – Why? and Could it happen here? She provides practical tips on how to engage your child in conversation, how to respond in a way that is honest and reassuring. Embedded in the article is a podcast which contains identical content to the article.

  • How to engage your child in conversation
  • What to say to make your child feel safe.
  • How to reassure your child in an honest way
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Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears. Key discussion points to emphasize are included for use when having discussions with children about violence.

  • Reassure children that they are safe and validate their feelings. Identify a trusted adult they can reach out to.
  • Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Observe child’s emotional state for distress and nonverbal cues.
  • Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate using the guidelines provided when having conversations with school-age children and adolescents.
View Article

The Impact of Gun Violence on Children and Teens (Statistics)

Children and teens in the US experience staggeringly high rates of gun deaths and injuries. They are also harmed when a friend or family member is killed with a gun, when someone they know is shot, and when they witness and hear gunshots. Gun homicides, non-fatal shootings, and exposure to gun violence stunt lives and, because of their disproportionate impact, reflect and intensify this country’s long-standing racial inequities. Statistical information and recommendations for voters, advocates, and policymakers related to gun violence in America are provided.

  • Annually, 3,000 children and teens (ages 0 to 19) are shot and killed, and 12,700 are shot and wounded. An estimated three million children witness a shooting each year. Gun violence shapes the lives of the children who witness it, know someone who was shot, or live in fear of the next shooting.
  • Black and Hispanic children and teens are impacted by gun violence at higher rates than their white peers, in part due to policy decisions that created segregated neighborhoods and underinvestment in their communities.
  • Exposure to gun violence has an impact on children’s and teens’ psychological and mental well-being and affects school performance and other factors.
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Guns in the Home

This resource provides parents and caregivers with background statistical information on the impact of guns in homes. It highlights the AAP’s position statements on guns and provides safety tips on storing guns in the home. The article also advises parents on talking to their children and other parents about guns in other people’s homes.

  • AAP advises the safest home for children is a home with no guns
  • Gun storage safety points emphasized
  • Talk to other parents about guns in their homes before play dates, sleepovers, etc
View Article

Have a Conversation with Kids about Firearm Safety

Project ChildSafe is committed to providing educators and students the resources they need to spread the message of firearms safety. The resource page includes checklists, tips and videos to help educate students. The resource pages cites “it's important that children become familiar with the rules of firearms safety.”

  • Provides access to resources to obtain safety kits that include gun locks
  • Emphasis on safe handling of guns, does not include benefits of avoiding guns in homes
  • Offers the opportunity to sign a pledge to store guns safely to prevent injury.
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Traumatic Experiences (Sesame Street)

This site has many resources to assist parents in helping themselves and their children cope with traumatic experiences.  There are videos, interactive workshops, and printable materials on the site.  Some topics include self-care such as digging deep into yourself and finding positiveness, finding your safe place, connecting with others after trauma, and hope including strength, confidence, and ‘flowering.’ 

  • Nonthreatening information
  • A variety of resources that are easy to read and use
  • Help for both parents and children
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Children and Gun Safety: A Call to Action for Nurses

A one-page article published in nursing journal written by a nursing professor at Simmons University in Boston, MA.  The article focused on some research done on gun safety including notation to the APP position statement. Topics addressed are parents following gun safety in the home and children’s recognition of a real vs toy gun. 

  • Ask parents about home gun safety
  • Ask children about the differences and similarities between real and toy guns
  • Importance of nurse advocacy in gun safety
View Article