A research team at Rutgers University plans to launch eight new studies this year on gun violence and prevention to explore the correlations between mental health care spending and reductions in gun-related crimes, examine the effectiveness of existing laws and look at how school building layouts can help prevent casualties in a shooting.

Paul Boxer, psychology professor at Rutgers and research director for The New Jersey Center on Gun Violence Research, said the studies are intended to take a look at different issues relative to gun violence from new angles that will spur new research.

"We are looking at risk factors for gun violence occurring. We are looking at some of the origins of gun violence. We are looking at some of the reasons why individuals may decide to own guns and carry guns. We are looking some issues around ways to improve public safety in terms of the policing of gun crimes," said Boxer.

He added that the researchers' plan to look at these issues with researchers in disciplines that might not be traditionally the same ones commonly associated with gun violence research.

The current research is driven by criminal justice, criminology and public health. But Boxer said now the research will bring in psychology, anthropology and data science in hopes of getting answers to questions that were not really asked before.

The goal of the gun violence research is to hopefully bring new investigators into the fold, said Boxer. He hopes to do research that will be ultimately fundable by federal agencies. They are hoping to develop some findings that will have relevance and impact for practice and policy around promoting public safety with respected guns.

Research will be funded with monies the center already received from the state to get the center up and running, according to Boxer.

While the time frames vary according to each individual study, Boxer said he expects to have quite a bit of new information by late fall and even more from some of the larger, longer term projects by mid 2020. The abstract findings and white paper reports of the studies will be available on the Rutgers website as soon as they are available.

"We really are trying get some research going that will hopefully give us some insight into the ways in which policymakers, practitioners, the police, the public health officials can manage issues around gun crimes, gun violence and guns in general in our state," said Boxer.

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