Background: Gun violence as a public health issue is not a new phenomenon. In 2014 alone, gun violence led to 81,034 injuries and 33,599 deaths in the United States. Through intricate involvement of the Second Amendment, the right to life and security, and disproportionate effects on minority populations, gun violence has become both a public health issue and a human rights concern.
Current laws regarding firearms are not backed by scientific research because no research on this matter exists. Beginning with the Dickey Amendment (ratified in 1996), the use of federal funds for the purpose of studying the risk factors, prevention, and safety aspects of gun violence has been banned. While surveillance data on gun violence is collected through the National Violent Death Reporting System, this does not provide the same quality of information that robust research would offer.
Take Action: Experts agree that the first step in combatting the toll that gun violence takes on Americans’ health and safety is to study the phenomenon, the firearms, and current policies in order to learn about the many variables that affect gun safety. Since April 2016, groups such as Doctors for America and the American Medical Association have spoken up to reinstate federal funding for the scientific study of gun violence. Learn more and add your voice today:
1. Read and share Doctors for America’s letter to Congress, signed by dozens of medical associations, to learn more about the issue and its toll on Americans. Click here.
2. Add your voice to the thousands of medical students and physicians fighting for federal funding to investigate gun violence by signing this petition.
3. Send a letter to Congress urging them to end the ban on gun violence research. Click here.
1. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. National Violent Death Reporting System.
2. 104th Congress. “Public Law 104-208”.
3. Masters, Katie. “141 Medical Groups Urge Congress to Restore Funding for Gun Violence Research”. TheTrace.org. April 6, 2016.