$50 for 50 by 50 #31: Violence Policy Center

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

The Violence Policy Center (VPC) works to stop gun death and injury through research, education, advocacy, and collaboration. Founded in 1988 by Executive Director Josh Sugarmann, a native of Newtown, Connecticut, the VPC informs the public about the impact of gun violence on their daily lives, exposes the profit-driven marketing and lobbying activities of the firearms industry and gun lobby, offers unique technical expertise to policymakers, organizations, and advocates on the federal, state, and local levels, and works for policy changes that save lives.

The VPC has a long and proven record of policy successes on the federal, state, and local levels, leading the National Rifle Association to acknowledge us as “the most effective … anti-gun rabble rouser in Washington.”

Gun violence is not only a crime problem: It is a public health epidemic. Each year, more than 33,000 Americans die from gun violence in suicides, homicides, and unintentional shootings. Shockingly, guns are the only consumer product manufactured in America that the federal government does not regulate for health and safety. The gun industry has exploited this unique exemption by designing, manufacturing, and marketing increasingly lethal products, nearly always using crossover military technologies.

The inevitable result of this militarized civilian gun industry can be seen across our nation: from mass shootings using semiautomatic weapons with high-capacity ammunition magazines, to vigilante justice meted out by concealed handgun permit holders. At the same time, in the face of declining household gun ownership, the firearms industry is targeting women and even grade-school children as their new potential customers.

The VPC firmly believes the answer to reducing gun violence lies in applying the decades-long lessons of public health injury prevention and consumer product safety regulation to the gun industry and its products.

Our Approach

RESEARCH: We publish timely, well-informed, original studies on gun violence in the United States. We draw upon our deep and unique expertise on the firearms industry, gun violence data, the causes of gun violence, and public health approaches to reducing firearm death and injury.

EDUCATION: We inform the public of our research through targeted campaigns involving news media outreach, social media, and public events. We are an essential point of contact for the press, the public, elected officials, organizations, and advocates who need timely and accurate answers to often complex questions.

ADVOCACY: We bring an informed and evidence-based perspective to the campaign for stronger gun violence prevention laws and policies. We build relationships with policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels to work for effective solutions that will save lives.

COLLABORATION: We partner with a diverse range of organizations working on gun violence prevention and related issues, working together to build and grow a national movement for change.

To learn more visit vpc.org.

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