DPP Professors Win Grant from the NCGVR for Firearm Violence Prevention

The Department of Public Policy (DPP) is pleased to announce that Dr. Jennifer Necci Dineen and Dr. Kerri M. Raissian are part of a research group awarded a grant from the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research (NCGVR), and their work has funding support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Dr. Dineen and Dr. Raissian will work with Dr. Mitchell Doucette (Johns Hopkins University) and Dr. Damion Grasso (University of Connecticut School of Medicine) to develop the Harms and Benefits Inventory (HBI). 

The NCGVR seeks to promote critical research in gun related deaths, and the NCGVR is dedicated to advancing knowledge about gun use and violence through non-partisan scientific research. Despite the deaths of nearly 40,000 Americans each year, gun violence research has historically been, relative to its mortality, the least-researched cause of death in the US.  The research produced from NCGVR supported grants may be used to formulate or inform more effective gun policies.  

Dr. Dineen and Dr. Raissian’s research will focus on creating an HBI with the purpose of standardizing the measurement of perceived harms and benefits as a publicly accessible tool for public policy makers, researchers, and advocates. The goal is to use this tool to reduce the level of firearm violence by using the HBI to predict the harms and benefits of public policy on gun owners and their subsequent behavior changes.

Raissian says, “If we want to reduce gun injury and death, our policies have to account for how gun owners experience policies. America has more guns than people, and so even if jurisdictions adopt effective policies, we must incorporate gun owner voice and experience into policy adoption.  However, we can’t even begin to do that until we understand the perceived harms and benefits of policies to gun owners. The HBI tool will help us to accomplish this, and that’s why I am so excited to be part of this research team.”

Dineen adds, “We have surveys that investigate reasons for gun ownership and opinions toward various policies, but they lack consistency and fall short of assessing how gun users perceive those policies as being helpful (a benefit) or problematic (a harm).  The inconsistency across survey measures makes it difficult to compare how users, in this case gun owners, view the harms and benefits of one policy option over another. And to Professor Raissian’s point, it is difficult to get people to comply with a policy they perceive as harmful.”

If you would like to learn more about this exciting project, please visit the NCGVR Grant page for more information.