Washington, DC—As researchers and members of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, we strongly support the repeal of the Dickey Amendment, which in effect prohibits the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from using federal funding for gun violence research.
We are encouraged to hear that former Arkansas Congressman Jay Dickey himself has stated, “I wish we had started the proper research and kept it going all this time … I have regrets.” Since the amendment went into effect, over half a million Americans have lost their lives to gun violence, including those murdered by domestic abusers who had easy access to firearms; children who died from unintentional shootings; and suicide victims—1 out of 4 of whom are veterans. Many more Americans who have survived firearm assaults have had to cope with the resulting emotional and physical trauma for the rest of their lives.
This is unacceptable, and we need to be doing everything in our power to understand this problem and develop effective policies to address it. It is long past time to lift the misguided restriction on gun violence research by the CDC so researchers and policy makers have access to the data they need to develop evidence-based solutions to this major public health problem. When the government applied a public health approach to address the risks associated with driving automobiles and smoking cigarettes, it was able to successfully reduce the mortality rates associated with those behaviors.
There is no more time to wait. This country is losing approximately 90 citizens to gun violence every day. It is time for our legislators to do what they can do to promote a better understanding of this problem and to identify potential solutions.
Paul Appelbaum, MD
Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine & Law at Columbia University; Director of the Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry
Richard Bonnie, LLB
Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law at the University of Virginia School of Law; Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences; Professor of Public Policy
Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD
Professor, Director of Undergraduate Health Sciences Program at Northeastern University
Beth McGinty, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, MA
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine
Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH
Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Director of the Center for Gun Policy Research
Garen Wintemute, MD, MPH
Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, Davis; Director of the Violence Prevention Research Program; Inaugural Susan P. Baker-Stephen P. Teret Chair in Violence Prevention
[Disclaimer: We are expressing our individual opinions as experts in the field, not the positions of our individual institutions.]
The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (Ed Fund) is the 501(c)(3) sister organization of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. The organization has engaged in a number of successful public education campaigns over the years aimed at reducing gun death and injury. The Ed Fund can be found on Twitter.