EXPERTS: IT IS TIME TO FUND GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION RESEARCH
The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence and researchers from across the country call for the Senate to fund gun violence prevention research
Washington, DC (July 25,2019) — For more than two decades, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have been left with a void in their research funding — funding for gun violence prevention. Last month, the House took an important step towards ending this research freeze and passed the first appropriations minibus that includes $50 Million to support “firearm injury and mortality prevention research” divided evenly between CDC and NIH. The funding has not been brought up for a vote in the United States Senate.
Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence Director of Federal Affairs Dakota Jablon issued the following statement:
“Nearly 40,000 Americans died from gun violence in 2017. The total firearm death rate increased 17 percent over the last decade, while the firearm suicide rate increased 19 percent over the same time period. Gun violence in all its forms is a public health crisis.
“For far too long, legislators have held gun violence researchers hostage by refusing to appropriate dedicated funds for gun violence research. As gun deaths have climbed, researchers and scientists have been limited in their efforts to research solutions to reduce American gun fatalities and injuries. The House has taken action to address this gap in gun violence prevention research, but the funding is still being held up by Majority Leader McConnell and the United States Senate.
“With proper funding, public health research can help us address gun violence, just as it has with other leading causes of death. It is time for Leader McConnell to take action and fund gun violence prevention research to help solve this uniquely American epidemic.”
Researchers from across the country also issued the following statements:
Michael Anestis, Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi
“With tens of thousands of Americans dying by firearm each year, Congress has an opportunity to save lives by finally providing substantial funding to help scientists investigate the causes and solutions to gun violence. Funding to address the role of firearms in suicide is particularly needed in order to address stop the nearly 15-year streak of annually increasing national suicide rates.”
Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, Research Council Chair, American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine
“As a physician and researcher, I depend on federal agencies like the NIH and CDC to promote health and lead the way in preventing injuries and deaths. Federally-funded public health and medical research — which certainly should be nonpartisan — is critical to reduce firearm injuries and deaths. This is not about gun control. It’s about using science to find usable, effective solutions to save lives.”
Shani Buggs, Ph.D., MPH, University of California Firearm Violence Research Center
“I strongly support the appropriation of money to federal agencies such as the CDC and NIH for firearm injury and mortality research. We need high-quality, multi-year research projects, such as those conducted for nearly every other cause of mortality and morbidity, to better understand the root causes and consequences of gun violence, as well as to inform strategic policies and practices that can effectively prevent it.”
Paul Nestadt, MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
“At the start of the 21st century, car accidents were killing about 42,000 Americans annually, and gun violence about 30,000. We’ve done a great job reducing vehicle deaths, which are now surpassed by our 40,000 annual gun deaths. The difference? Research funding for road safety regulations saved lives, while gun violence research was stymied by powerful lobbying organizations. Gun deaths, most prominently gun suicides, represent a public health crisis and must be taken seriously in the 2020 budget.”
Stephen Hargarten, MD, MPH, Medical College of Wisconsin
“We need to rethink and frame gun violence as a complex biopsychosocial disease. We need to move away from a false dichotomy debate to a complex disease management and prevention strategy—adopting research informed public health and health care strategies that are supported by research funding, just like we do for other diseases.”
Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, MD, MPH, Ph.D., Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, University of Washington
“Firearm injury science has been silenced for too long. A robust program of research funding by the Federal Government can notably contribute to a meaningful revival of this field and translate evidence emanating from it to programs, practices, and policies that prevent injuries and save lives.”
April M. Zeoli, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University
” When people ask me questions about gun violence and its prevention, there are inevitably questions that I cannot answer because the research needed to answer those questions has not yet been done. Unfortunately, many promising avenues of research into how to reduce nonfatal and fatal shootings have not yet been explored due to lack of funding. I implore Congress to fund gun violence research so we can answer more questions and save more lives.”