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Firearm Policies to Protect Youth: Building on Research to Inspire Action

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Firearms are one of the leading causes of death for children. Despite calls for gun safety measures, advancing firearm research that could spur action on evidence-based policies to protect youth has proven difficult.

In PolicyLab and Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) resources, our experts examined available research on preventing unintentional firearm injury & death among youth. This analysis identified policies with a strong evidence base that could provide immediate protection for children, as well as policy alternatives that may hold promise, but need more research prior to widespread implementation.

These findings and related recommendations can inform discussions on how to move the needle on policies that have enough evidence behind them, and how we can build out research to fill in gaps for others.

On May 27, PolicyLab and CVP hosted a virtual conversation titled, “Firearm Policies to Protect Youth: Building on Research to Inspire Action,” with health care providers, and policy and research experts, to discuss questions such as: How can research advance firearm safety policy and how can leaders overcome challenges to get results? What role do pediatric settings and providers play and how would policy changes make a difference in initiatives like promoting safe firearm storage? How can community leaders shape research and policy to protect children from the dangers of firearms?

Panelists included:

  • Ruth Abaya, MD, MPH, attending physician in the emergency department at CHOP, practice-based scholar at CHOP's Center for Violence Prevention, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and program manager for the Injury Prevention Program at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health
  • Kelly Drane, research director, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Joel Fein, MD, MPH, co-director of CHOP’s Center for Violence Prevention, research director of the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention and attending physician in the emergency department at CHOP
  • Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery), Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Rebecka Rosenquist, MSc, health policy director at PolicyLab (moderator)


Abaya R, Drane K, Fein JA, Stephens T, Rosenquist R