Violence Policy Center

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Violence Policy center
Ownership type Public non-profit organization
Founded 1988
Headquarters Washington D.C. , District of Columbia
United States

Violence Policy Center (VPC) is a non-profit organization aimed at fighting gun violence through research, advocacy and education. The VPC was founded in 1988 and is based out of Washington, D.C. The VPC believes gun violence should be considered a public health issue as well as a crime issue.


The Violence Policy Center was created in 1988. In 1994, it was joined by the Firearms Policy Project.


Between 1996 and 2006, the Violence Policy Center received U.S. $4,154,970 in funding from the Joyce Foundation, a non-profit foundation based in the Great Lakes region of the US that funds several gun control organizations.

Current objectives and activities

Mission: The VPC conducts research and educational activities on violence and related issues, including: the impact of firearms violence on specific populations, such as youth, women, and minorities; the link between firearms availability and rates of mortality and morbidity; and, the increasing lethality of weapons marketed by the firearms industry to the civilian population. VPC research shapes public debate and guides policymaking. Some highlights resulting from the VPC's work include: dramatically reducing the number of illegitimate gun dealers in the U.S.; terminating a federal program that re-armed convicted, often violent, felons at taxpayer expense; passing the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, which bans gun possession by individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes; first identifying the threat posed by gun shows as a source of criminal gun trafficking; and, working to protect the legal rights of the victims of firearms violence and defective firearms. The VPC is also a leading resource for the press and is cited hundreds of times each year in leading publications and news outlets. At the state and local levels, VPC state-based studies looking at such issues as murder-suicide, female homicide victimization, black homicide victimization, and other violence-related issues increase public awareness and focus press attention on gun violence in areas of the country where policy issues regarding gun death and injury are less often addressed. At the same time, the VPC works with national and local organizations with interests beyond gun control to build the broadest possible base of support for violence prevention.


Publications and case studies from the Violence Policy center include: 1992- VPC released More Gun Dealers than Gas Stations. This study showed that 80% of Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders did not own a business, but sold guns from their homes. The study caused a rapid reduction in gun dealers. 1993- VPC created Putting Guns Back into Criminals’ Hands. This exposed the government’s four-million-a-year plan to allow convicted felons to be armed. This program was then defunded and remains so today. 1994- VPC released its groundbreaking study Cease Fire: A Comprehensive Strategy to Reduce Firearms Violence. This study had two goals: To establish firearms violence as a public health issue and to regulate gun control in the same matter as the government regulated other dangerous products. 1996- VPC released Gun Shows in America: Tupperware® Parties for Criminals. This study helped identify the problems associated with gun shows. VPC also helped support the “Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban”, the law expands the list of those prohibited from possessing firearms to include those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses. 1997- VPC released Joe Camel with Feathers: How the NRA with Gun and Tobacco Industry Dollars Uses its Eddie Eagle Program to Market Guns to Kids. The study is one of numerous VPC reports focusing on the marketing of guns to children by the gun lobby and the firearms industry, as well as the effects of gun violence on children and youth. 1998- VPC released "Small" Favors—A Sampling of Assault Weapon and Saturday Night Special Manufacturers That Would be Protected by the Product Liability Bill's "Small Business" Cap on Punitive Damages. This showed that gun manufactures were being protected by federal legislators. 1999- VPC's first book, Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America is published. This book revealed how the firearms industry has increased lethality in its products to increase sales. 2001- VPC released Hispanics and Firearms Violence was the first study to collect all nationally available information on firearms violence and Hispanics. VPC released Poisonous Pastime, a first-time look at the lead threat posed to children and the environment by indoor and outdoor shooting ranges. VPC released Voting from the Rooftops: How the Gun Industry Armed Osama bin Laden, Other Foreign and Domestic Terrorists, and Common Criminals With 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles. This study showed how easily 50 caliber rifles are you purchase. It also revealed that Al Qaeda purchased 25 of these weapons from the United States. 2003- VPC released "Officer Down"—Assault Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement. This revealed that 1 in 5 officers killed in the line of duty was done so with an assault weapon. 2006- VPC released American Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the United States. This was an updated version of the same study previously released. It shows that 10 murder suicides happen in the United States each week.

Public perception and controversies

A few controversies include the wording used in some of the case studeis. The Violence Policy center contradicted itself by stating that civilian guns are the same as military assault weapons because they are both semiautomatic. However, the military assault weapons can also be fully automatic, which is why they are different.

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