EXPERTS AGREE: IT IS THE TIME TO FUND GUN VIOLENCE RESEARCH
The Educational to Stop Gun Violence commends the House Majority’s prioritization of gun violence research in Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations budget.
Washington, DC (May 8, 2019) — For two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) were left with a void in their research funding — funding for gun violence prevention. This ends today with the Democratic-controlled House Appropriations Committee as they mark up the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2020. The bill includes $50 Million to support “firearm injury and mortality prevention research” divided evenly between CDC and NIH.
Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence Federal Policy Director Dakota Jablon issued the following statement:
“For two decades, federal researchers and scientists have been prohibited from discovering and developing new policies to reduce American gun deaths and injuries. With the appropriation of federal funds to address and research America’s gun violence epidemic — that ban finally begins to fall.
“In 2017 alone, 39,773 Americans were killed by firearms. In this same year, firearm deaths accounted for 939,964 years of life lost before the age of 65; this is more than diabetes, stroke, and liver disease combined.
“In order to effectively prevent gun violence, we need strong research grounded in public health to inform evidence-based policy, laws, and programs. Just as public health research has played an instrumental role in curing diseases and reducing traffic deaths, it can also reduce gun violence.
“We applaud Speaker Pelosi, Chairwoman Lowey, and the House Appropriations Committee for making this life-saving research a priority in the 116th Congress.”
Some of the nation’s leading gun violence 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 commend the appropriation of $50 million to the CDC and NIH for firearm injury and mortality prevention 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
“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.”