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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Johns Hopkins: Faculty Receives Grant to Develop a Virtual Reality Program to Assess Firearm Use

Dr. Cassandra Crifasi, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and assistant professor in the department of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has received a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Packard Foundation to develop and study a virtual reality program for civilian firearm use.

The grant will support the development of a range of immersive virtual reality simulations of common scenarios to test individuals’ ability to make decisions about using a firearm under pressure. Researchers will also study the accuracy with which a participant uses a firearm in each of the situations. Participants will be recruited via gun ranges, gun shops, and through existing networks, and randomly assigned to different simulations.

Over the last fifty years, most states have eased laws regulating concealed firearms. Currently, fifteen states do not require a special license for a civilian to carry a firearm in most public places. In states that do require a license to carry concealed firearms, many do not require an applicant to demonstrate he or she can fire a firearm safely or accurately before purchase. Currently, there is no federal law mandating firearms training for civilians who are considering carrying firearms in public in the U.S.

Dr. Crifasi’s research focuses on policies and programs that improve safety and prevent injury. Her research areas include violence prevention, firearm policies, and evaluation of policy changes on public safety.

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