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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change by Johns Hopkins University

266 ratings

About the Course

Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change is designed to provide learners with the best available science and insights from top scholars across the country as well as the skills to understand which interventions are the most effective to offer a path forward for reducing gun violence in our homes, schools, and communities. Through this course, you will learn how to: 1. Appreciate the scope of gun violence and the importance of considering the issue across a variety of contexts. 2. Describe the role of law and policy in addressing gun violence at the federal, state, and local levels. 3. Compare the effectiveness of gun violence policies and highlight the importance of changing the way we talk about gun violence. 4. Describe state standards for civilian gun carrying and use and how those standards affect crime and violence. 5. Describe how firearm design is regulated, the effective and just enforcement of firearm laws, and strategies for reducing police-involved shootings. 6. Identify and explain evidence-based programs to reduce gun violence and understand public opinion on gun policy. As a student of this course, it’s important to recognize that you are part of an international learning community. We understand that gun violence can be a difficult issue to discuss and we all have our own set of opinions and beliefs. However, we ask you to please remember that gun violence is something that affects every person differently. It’s important to understand that this course is intended to generate productive and meaningful conversation. We ask students of this course to abide by the rules outlined and expected of you by Coursera’s Code of Conduct Policy. Please help us promote a healthy, productive, and sustainable learning environment for all and practice the following principles: Be polite.  Treat your fellow learners with respect.  Insulting, condescending, or abusive words will not be tolerated.  Do not harass other learners.  Polite debate is welcome as long as you are discussing the ideas or the evidence, not attacking the person. Be sensitive.  Remember that Coursera is a global forum with learners from many different cultures and backgrounds.  Be kind, thoughtful, and open-minded when discussing race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or controversial topics since others likely have differing perspectives. Post appropriate content.  Content that violates the Honor Code or Terms of Service is not permitted.  You may not post inappropriate (e.g., pornographic or obscene) content.  Do not post copyrighted content.  Do not advertise or promote outside products or organizations.  Do not spam the forums with repetitive content. Please note that violations of Coursera’s Code of Conduct, Honor Code, or Terms of service are not permitted and may result in:  Deletion of posted content.  Removal from the course.  Losing access to the Coursera site. *It is important to also note that certain policies and laws mentioned in this course are likely to change and develop over time. As a result, we understand that course content may need to be updated to reflect such changes. While we will strive to do this as quickly as possible, we appreciate your patience. All information included in the course is reported accurately at the time of recording and we intend to update lectures as soon as possible and to the best of our ability. The development of this course was made possible through generous financial support provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, an organization committed to improving the lives of children, enabling the creative pursuit of science, advancing reproductive health, and conserving and restoring the earth’s natural systems....

Top reviews


May 4, 2023

I feel more knowledgeable and less defeated. I also have hope in advocating for and helping implement better gun policies. I especially like the Community Involvement and Public Health perspectives.


Jun 13, 2019

This is an excellent, thoughtful, and thought-provoking course, one that should be required for all legislators and people with any interest in guns or gun control.

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1 - 25 of 81 Reviews for Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change

By Ippolit M M

May 26, 2019

The course is a bit superficial in presenting the findings but not the methods of studies; however, that is perhaps understandable for an "entry-level" course. Still, especially if the course is intended for high-school students who are not (yet) scientists trained in critiquing studies, I fear this course has left them unable to evaluate papers by any metric other than "I like/dislike its conclusions."

That criticism would be unimportant in a course that acknowledges that there are two sides to both an undecided scientific question and a hotly disputed political subject, and so discusses both. Unfortunately, only one side has been well presented. I think that harms the understanding of both the law and the science, and erects obstacles to discussion between persons with different opinions.

In contrast, I have only great praise for Dr. Crifasi's presentation on safe storage in practice; Professor Meares' presentation on police-involved shootings; and the Week 6 materials on "Cure Violence", on cooperative efforts around promoting safe storage and suicide risk recognition/suicide prevention, and on place-based, community-led "healthy neighborhood" interventions--all OUTSTANDING!

By Illia K

Apr 11, 2020

The course is a very good entry point for understanding a mess US gun laws are thanks to both pro- and anti-gun activities. Some of the topics are covered quite well, with a lot of data and sources.

Unfortunately, that's it on a positive side.

The course takes a neutral to extreme anti-gun position and plays very safe. The very idea of using evidence-based politics is great, but not a single example of an evidence-based failure of any of current gun regulations is suspicious at best. For example, a lot of material is revolving around Maryland, but when talking about National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, you will not hear a word why Maryland has closed its IBIS or New York - its CoBIS (both were parts of NIBIS).

Worse yet, some positions taken during the course are denying each other. In Week 2 Prof. Jon Vernik is absolutely happy about an assault weapon ban (which doesn't completely ban large capacity magazines - remember it) in Maryland while talking with Attorney General Brian Frosh. In Week 3 Prof. Jeff Swanson says that 17% of violent crime inmates having serious mental illnesses doesn't mean SMI are affecting violent behavior (despite only 4,5% of US population having SMI overall, according to NIMH, not mentioned in the course) - having quite a time to discuss how much Mr. Trump is wrong saying "mental illness is an issue" about one of recent mass shootings. And then in Week 5 you're presented with a list of mass shootings that were a reason to ban "assault weapons" in some states. It's not mentioned, but if you check any of those events, you'll find a mentally ill person almost every time, sometimes with years after years of problems well known for people around and doctors. In case of Nikolas Jacob Cruz, for example, we talk about five years and at least two suggestions to submit him to involuntary treatment before the actual shooting. And finally Feb 2020 JHBPSH report (not in this course) uses exactly one sentence in a whole wall of text - "In addition, the study did not find an independent association between assault weapon bans and the incidence of fatal mass shootings after controlling for the effects of bans on large-capacity magazines." To put it short - no evidence that a Maryland assault weapon ban is of any use, and SMI looks to be an issue at least in case of mass shootings, despite Prof. Swanson position.

Overall this program is not bad but is very one-sided and has to be taken with a grain of salt. It mostly presents topics of rare disagreement and carefully avoids any possible gun regulation failures.

By Mindy S

Jun 12, 2019

As someone interested in gun violence as a result of mass shootings, I thought this course was excellent. It allows you to replace the emotional response that is often ineffective in gaining traction for change with evidenced based research that could actually lead to change. As someone with high school students, I do think it is a stretch to get them to engage with a class like this (as it is will all things educational). I think it will be more effective at the college level.

By Leah H

Jun 14, 2019

This is an excellent, thoughtful, and thought-provoking course, one that should be required for all legislators and people with any interest in guns or gun control.

By Dana Z

Jun 2, 2019

I highly suggest this course for anyone interested in finding out what is going on in the United States with regard to guns. Then I suggest anyone taking this course settle into a comfortable chair in a peaceful room each time you tackle a week's content. This is not light breezy material and deserves your clear attention. The amount of concrete data on way to SOLVE gun violence is uplifting and promising. It's implementation becomes another issue, but second to the purpose of this course.

By Douglas M

Jun 5, 2019

Look fwd to updates on this course if possible to augment our knowledge. Perhaps a residential seminar annually & follow up courses as new research comes in and can be applied. We are beginning to define the narrative with evidence based and evidence informed data which we can use practice. Stories as to the train cost of gun violence and the efforts to stem from it need to be told.

By Adrian B

Jun 25, 2019

I am very thankful to Johns Hopkins, Dr Webster and his team, for offering this online certification. I didn't know a lot about Gun violence and I feel this past 6 weeks have very very informative , interesting and important. It is always important to educate yourself on subjects you don't know and I feel that i can form an informed opinion and Guns. Gun rights and Gun Violence. Thank you very much.

By Phillip W

Jul 9, 2019

There are a few modules which feel repetitive in a way that isn't reinforcing a message, as well as others which feel a bit as though they are filler, fluffing a course that either didn't build enough groundwork to fully integrate their thesis into the overall course goals, or were convenient on hand and easy to add into the video stream despite being of minimal (though some!) instructional merit.

The course starts off strong and the reading lists are robust, and provide good sources for further education. I think more emphasis could be placed on understanding gun advocates thought processes and on cultural and social efforts to reduce gun violence beyond legal frameworks.

By Doug D

Jun 26, 2019

Lots of helpful information. A bit dry in terms of presentation. Significant appearance of bias on the part of the researchers and presenters. As always from any good scientist -- "more research is needed!"

By Seth S

Jul 28, 2019

Very interesting material, but hardly bearable sitting through hours of unformatted PowerPoint slides. I wish it was presented in an even slightly more engaging format.

By Aedrian A

May 18, 2021

As someone who has physically never been in the United States, this well-crafted course made me understand the context (and the potential and efforts for change) of an alarming issue I keep hearing in international news - the numbing and seemingly-regular reports of multiple-casualty gun-related violence there. Through the excellent course creators and invited experts, everyone even outside the US context will be on-the-loop on the relevant situation and its social, economic, and legal underpinnings. The coverage of this material, impressively, also got deeper than expected, giving information as well on technical details such as the anatomy of firearms. Furthermore, the relevance of interventions discussed in the final week goes beyond the main issue that will perhaps be useful in local contexts wherein violence, regardless of specific details, is a pressing concern.

By Kathryn B

Aug 4, 2019

I learned several approaches to reducing gun violence that I was not aware of, and I think the cooperative and evidence-based approaches advocated in this course are really important for actually enacting the change, both legal and cultural, that we need in order to save lives. I wish our political discourse took a more similar approach, but hopefully I will be able to contribute to that as a citizen, voter, and activist.The cooperative and evidence-based approaches advocated in this course are really important for actually enacting the change, both legal and cultural, that we need in order to save lives. I wish our political discourse took a more similar approach, but hopefully I will now be able to contribute to that as a citizen, voter, and activist.

By Mike B

Sep 22, 2020

An interesting look at a major public health issue unique to and made in the USA. Provides invaluable information about the different laws related to guns and how each level of government regulates firearms and the differences in laws from state to state that are essential to understanding how guns move from areas of the country with less restrictive gun laws to cities and states with stricter gun laws. The course also examines arguments about whether owning/carrying a firearm makes you more or less safe and looks critically at some of the most common arguments for both the pro and anti-gun advocacy groups. A foundational course for understanding firearm violence in the US.

By John B M J

Jun 12, 2019

Whether one is an avid gun owner or avidly anti-gun, there is something here for both of you. The learner will have an accurate understanding of Wayne LaPierre's, "..good guy with a gun" mantra. Ending the course with the stats that gun owners were aligned so closely with non-owners on some key issues gives me hope for at least a start to Congressional consensus on SOMETHING. That hope is for my grand kids, since I and my 30-something children will likely see no changes in the near future. There's too much money, ego, and influence-pedaling in Washington for the foreseeable future to be anything but "business as usual".

By Lily C

Jun 7, 2019

This course gave me knowledge and ideas on guns that I had never thought about prior. I do appreciate the fact that one of the instructors is herself a gun owner and that she enjoys doing research to effect gun policy. I received a lot of surprising information about how much overall (not everything) gun owners and non gun owners agree on policy. Thank you guys for an easy to use course on the education of gun violence! This is an ever-growing issue in this country.

By Brian H

Oct 24, 2019

This was an outstanding course. Evidence was presented that showed what laws, policies and practices have been effective in reducing gun violence in the U.S. Whether you are a gun owner or not, I think you will find the data presented as an informative and unbiased learning experience. If your area of interest in community involvement, this course offers many examples of how you can help reduce gun violence in your community.

By Lisa M D

Oct 4, 2019

This course was very straight forward and easy to comprehend. The simplicity of the graphs coupled with the to the point lessons from the instructors made it a very pleasurable experience for a more visual learner like myself. I feel much more confidant about discussing the topic of gun violence and what I can do personally to contribute to some of the solutions for curtailing it.


By Alan S C

Nov 12, 2019

Beginning with the very first lesson, I found much of my knowledge and beliefs concerning gun violence and gun policy to be wrong. This course is very well designed and is presented by professionals who instill confidence in the evidence presented. I have changed my plans for advocacy in promoting sensible gun policies due to the information presented in this course.

By David G

Jul 12, 2021

The professors did an excellent job of providing valuable information about the research and efforts to reduce gun violence in the United States. The course was quite comprehensive, and provided statistics for citizens to be better informed on which proposed gun policies can be most effective in preventing future gun violence. I highly recommend this class.

By Kayla A

May 11, 2020

Amazing course! It was more informative than formal coursework that I had on gun policy, gun laws, and gun research in the past. I highly suggest this course for anyone who wants to know more about why gun violence is so rampant in the US, what policies are in place to curb gun violence, how guns work, and available products for safe storage.

By Marta S

Sep 4, 2019

An excellent course, particularly for those wanting to learn about gun violence. The course filled my expectations, Comprehensive syllabus. I gained an awareness about the stats behind gun violence, laws, policies, interventions, public opinion, gun storage that I lacked before. I find the list of readings and data sources invaluable.

By Jocelyn S

Aug 28, 2020

This course is extremely well-made and well thought out. The material is presented in an engaging manner. The professionals teaching the course are extremely knowledgeable, yet also teach the material in an approachable way. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in how to reduce gun violence in America!

By Steve R

Jun 8, 2021

This is such an important topic for the USA. You did a great job of avoiding bias and presenting the facts and true research findings. With so much evidence supporting enhanced gun laws, it just amazes me that we as a country will not pass the necessary legislation to avoid unnecessary injuries and death.

By John L

May 24, 2019

This course did a wonderful job of outlining evidence for ways in which the US can work to prevent gun violence. The pacing was excellent, and the fact that the studies in question were listed on the slides and included in the available readings was a great help.

By George H

Jun 22, 2019

I found this course as dealing comprehensively with the issue of reducing gun violence and quite well organized so that it can be readily assimilated. I highly recommend undertaking this course if you are at all interested in reducing gun violence in America.