Gun violence has reached a 40-year high. It’s time for the federal government to invest in research into this public health epidemic.
A Threat to Our Communities
39,773 Americans died from gun violence in 2017. That works out to 109 deaths per day. This public safety issue is a public health epidemic.
In 1996 Congress took away dedicated federal funding for gun violence research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more than 20 years, federal investment in gun violence research has remained virtually absent at the nation’s primary health protection agency, despite gun deaths increasing for the past three years in a row to levels not seen in decades.
To make our communities safer, we must understand the causes of gun violence so that we can better develop policies to reduce it. The only thing standing in the way of research is a lack of funding. In 2018 the Trump administration’s CDC Director Robert Redfield stated that his team is “poised to do the research in this area if Congress chooses to appropriate the funding.”
Now it’s up to Congress to do its job: fund federal gun violence research at the CDC.
Research Saves Lives
From cancer to car crashes, the federal government plays a unique role in studying major public health problems in America. That research, in particular from the CDC, has helped lawmakers make decisions that save lives.
When doctors sounded alarm bells about the rise of deaths and injuries from car accidents in the 1950s, Congress appropriated federal funds to study the problem. That research showed that safety measures like seat belts save lives. And in 1968 lawmakers passed the first federal law requiring seat belts in all new cars. The CDC estimates that seat belts have saved more than a quarter million lives since.
Congress didn’t ban cars—it passed reasonable laws backed by CDC findings. We need to apply a similar approach to understanding and addressing our nation’s gun violence epidemic.
We’re Fighting for Funding
We’ve united with a coalition of medical and public health groups to demand that Congress fund federal research into gun violence. The new partnership sent a letter to congressional leaders highlighting how CDC gun violence research could lead to policies that save lives.
Members of the partnership include:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
- American College of Physicians
- American Medical Student Association
- American Psychological Association
- American Public Health Association
- Big Cities Health Coalition
- National Association of County and City Health Officials
- National Network of Public Health Institutes
- Doctors for America
- Safe States Alliance
- Student Osteopathic Medical Association
- This Is Our Lane
Until Congress appropriates funding, our coalition will highlight the need for and benefits of federal research funds. Researching gun violence is not a partisan issue.
- Read our joint letter to Congressional leaders
- Read the statement from Gabby Giffords and leading medical and public health groups
- Read our fact sheet
- Frustrated American Medical Association Changes Policies to Combat ‘Disease’ of Gun Violence
- Last four surgeons general call on CDC to resume gun violence studies
- Opinion: Congress hasn’t banned research on gun violence. It just won’t fund it.
Join our Action Network to stay up to date on our campaign for federal research funding.