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Giffords and Fourteen Leading Medical, Public Health Groups Team Up in New Effort to Urge Congress to Fund Research to Address America’s Gun Violence Crisis   

 New partnership sends  letter  to Congressional leaders highlighting how CDC gun violence research could lead to policies that save lives 

 Throughout the coming year, the partnership will demonstrate that improving public health and safety by reducing the number of Americans who die from gun violence is not a partisan issue 

December 20, 2018 Giffords , the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, is joining with 14 leading medical and public health groups in a new effort to urge Congress to fund research through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address America’s gun violence crisis. The launch is the first step in this initiative that plans to add more organizations lending their support in the coming year.

Members of the partnership include:

  • Giffords
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
  • American College of Physicians
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Medical Students Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • Big Cities Health Coalition
  • Doctors for America
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials
  • National Network of Public Health Institutes
  • Safe States Alliance
  • Student Osteopathic Medical Association
  • This is Our Lane

The new partnership will focus on funding the CDC to study gun violence, gun deaths, and gun injury in order to better improve public health and safety. In a letter sent today to Congressional leadership for the 116th Congress, the groups noted that over the past several decades scientific and medical research has led to policies that have saved countless lives related to automobiles, public sanitation, and cancer. The collective effort will call on Congress to properly fund CDC gun violence prevention research. In 2017, 39,773 Americans died from gun violence, meaning that 119 people were killed by guns each day.

Giffords Fact Sheet: Funding Federal Gun Violence Research 

“Medical and public health professionals are at the front lines of America’s gun violence epidemic,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “Today, we are proud to stand together to say that saving lives is never a partisan issue. Our new effort will make clear that we must give CDC the money to dig into this problem and provide the scientific research that will inform what we can do to prevent more people from ever being victims of gun violence in the first place.”

“Gun violence is a public health epidemic that is killing our children, and to stop an epidemic, we must understand its causes,” said Colleen Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics. “The impact of federal public health research in reducing deaths from threats like car accidents, smoking, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has been well proven. It’s time to apply the same approach to reducing gun violence in our communities. The AAP is proud to join Giffords and other leading medical and public health organizations to urge Congress to do just that by funding federal gun safety research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“AACP members, through action by our 2018 House of Delegates, have spoken out strongly that action to curb gun violence is long overdue,” says Lucinda L. Maine, PhD, AACP, EVP and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. “Evidence-driven solutions demand new funding for CDC to advance this long-stalled research agenda.”

“Firearms injuries and deaths are a public health crisis in this country and physicians come face-to-face with this tragedy regularly. This is why ACP has long advocated for policies that could prevent these avoidable deaths and injuries,” said Ana María López, MD, MPH, MACP, president, American College of Physicians. “Now is the time to stop prioritizing firearms over patients and the health of the public. Now is the time for policymakers to take concrete action to end this epidemic. Now is the time to work together with partners like the Giffords organization and other medical groups to urge Congress to take the critical step of funding research into firearms safety through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now is the time.”

“As medical students, we want our future patients to be safe in their own communities,” said Perry Tsai, M.D./Ph.D., National President, American Medical Student Association. “It is prudent that we implement measures that ensure public safety. In order to incorporate adequate solutions to address the alarming rate of gun violence in the United States, it is absolutely crucial that the CDC has sufficient funding to carry out high-quality studies.”

“Firearm injury and death from both intentional and unintentional events are a preventable health threat,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association. “We need a sound public health approach to address this public health epidemic, and we know that this begins with understanding the science. Research is an essential function to achieve this understanding to make data driven policy and programmatic decisions. We are pleased to join with other health and firearm injury prevention partners in our continued efforts to secure funding for CDC to conduct this critical public health research to help identify the best ways to reduce gun violence in the U.S.”

“The federal government must take a leading role through the CDC to conduct scientific research in order to understand and help prevent the tens of thousands of needless deaths in this country each year due to gun violence,” says Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association. “The CDC, in turn, needs adequate and sustained funding to reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from the use of firearms in suicide attempts, domestic disputes and community violence. Research findings will help policymakers and public health officials make fully informed decisions to address this serious public health crisis.”

“Gun violence is a profound public health crisis in America, and our nation’s local health departments work to prevent it each and every day,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. “We are pleased to join Giffords and our other partner organizations in calling upon lawmakers to fund the research needed to take a public health approach to the gun violence epidemic.”

“Violence is an increasingly significant public health threat, and gun violence is one of the most dangerous mechanisms of immediate and irreversible consequence,” said Vincent Lafronza, Ed.D., M.S., President and CEO, National Network of Public Health Institutes.

“Safe States stands firm with our partners on solutions to end firearm violence,” said Richard Hamburg, Executive Director for Safe States Alliance. “We know that science driven approaches are essential. It is critically important to fund research, which can provide important insights into how to prevent firearm injuries and deaths, particularly among our nation’s most vulnerable populations.”

“Firearm-related injury and death is a public health crisis that is a uniquely American problem,” said Joseph V. Sakran, MD, MPH, MPA, Founder, This Is Our Lane, and Brady Board member. “As healthcare professionals, we stand alongside our other partners working in the firearm injury prevention space committed to being part of the solution to this complex health problem. There is no better agency than the CDC to help spearhead the necessary research to develop a data-driven approach that is critical to allowing policy makers to implement informed and evidence-based solutions. We urge the 116th Congress to take immediate action in appropriation of federal dollars for firearm injury prevention research that will make communities all across America safer.”

Following a 1993 CDC-funded study that found individuals with a gun in the home are 2.7 times more likely to become homicide victims, Congress moved to strip CDC’s firearms research budget. Since then, federal investment in gun violence research has remained virtually absent at the nation’s premier institution for public health, despite gun deaths rising for the past three years to nearly 40,000 people in 2017. Recently, CDC and Trump administration officials have expressed CDC’s willingness and ability to restart this research, with CDC director Robert Redfield stating that his team is “ poised to do the research in this area if Congress chooses to appropriate the funding.”