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68 Medical and Public Health Organizations Call to End the Ban on Federal Gun Research


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Health Community United in Calls for Research to Address Gun Violence

Today, 68 medical and public health organizations representing health professionals across the country join with members of the scientific community to urge Congress to strike the effective federal ban on gun research from the Omnibus and fund the research we need to save lives. Their calls echo thousands of  physicians, more than 100 of our country’s leading public health researchers, 110 members of Congress, President Obama, Leader Pelosi and Rep. Dickey.

“Medical, public health professionals and members of the scientific community know that federal research is crucial to saving lives,” said Mona Mangat, MD, Chair of Doctors for America. “Federal scientific data has driven policy to save lives from motor vehicle accidents, sudden infant death syndrome, lead poisoning, and countless other public health crises. We believe it’s time for Congress to lift the effective ban, fund research, and save lives.”

The medical and public health community believe gun violence is a serious public health epidemic. However, since 1996, Congress has retained an amendment to the appropriations bill that has effectively blocked the CDC from carrying out the necessary research to better understand how to prevent gun violence. In addition to the ban, Congress also cut funding for gun violence research and, in 2011, extended the research restriction to the NIH. The result of these actions has had a chilling effect on gun violence research.

“We must begin to close the gap in knowledge surrounding gun violence prevention,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “I am convinced that a public health approach to this tragic epidemic can experience the same success we have had in reducing preventable injury and death related to other health emergencies. But we must get the evidence through a science based approach in order to  develop the best strategies that save lives.”

While gun violence claims the lives of 90 Americans everyday, there has been almost no publicly funded research on gun violence for nearly 20 years. During that time, the federal government has spent over $240 million a year on traffic safety and we have been able to save 360,000 lives.

The letter to Congress is included below and available online.  

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Paul Ryan

Speaker

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Harry Reid

Minority Leader

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

cc: Members of Congress

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Reid, Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Pelosi, and members of Congress,

Medical and public health organizations representing health professionals across the country join with members of the scientific community to urge you to end the federal ban on gun violence research and fund this critical work. Gun violence is a serious public health epidemic resulting in the senseless deaths of 90 Americans every day.

As health care providers and public health professionals, we are overwhelmed in our emergency departments, clinics, offices, and communities with the victims of mass shootings, homicides, suicides, accidental shootings, and injuries every day.  As we work to address the devastating and long- lasting emotional effects of gun violence on victims and their families, we are hampered by the lack of evidence- based research to use to point our communities towards proven gun violence prevention programs.

The effective ban on federal research has stymied our progress on gun violence prevention for the past 20 years. Former Representative Jay Dickey (R-AR), author of the current language that bans gun violence research, recently noted that, “it is my position that somehow or someway we should slowly but methodically fund [gun] research until a solution is reached. Doing nothing is no longer an acceptable solution.”

Thousands of  physicians, more than 100 of our country’s leading public health researchers, 110 members of Congress, President Obama, Rep. Dickey, and the undersigned organizations are calling on you to allow research to resume. Americans deserve to feel safe knowing that we are working with the best tools and information in the fight to reduce gun violence.

Sincerely,

Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health

Academic Pediatric Association

Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, Inc.

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

American College of Emergency Physicians

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

American College of Physicians

American College of Preventive Medicine

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American Geriatrics Society

American Medical Women's Association

American Pediatric Society

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

American Psychosomatic Society

American Public Health Association

American Society of Hematology

American Sociological Association

American Thoracic Society

Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs

California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians

California Public Health Association-North

Care for the Homeless

Child Welfare League of America

Children’s Defense Fund

Commission on the Public's Health System

Committee of Interns and Residents

Consortium of Social Science Associations

Delaware Academy of Medicine

Delaware Public Health Association

Doctors Council SEIU

Doctors for America

Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Futures Without Violence

Health Care for the Homeless of Maryland

Minority Health Institute

National AHEC Organization

National Association of County and City Health Officials

National Association of Medical Examiners

National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health

National Association of Social Workers

National Association of State Head Injury Administrators

National Child Abuse Coalition

National Health Care for the Homeless Council

National Hispanic Medical Association

National Medical Council on Gun Violence

National Network of Public Health Institutes

National Physicians Alliance

National Violence Prevention Network

Pediatric Policy Council

Physicians for a National Health Program - NY Metro Chapter

Physicians for Reproductive Health

Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence

Prevention Institute

Public Health Institute

Research!America

Safe States Alliance

Saint Joseph's Health System

School-Based Health Alliance

SEIU Nurse Alliance

Society for Pediatric Research

Society of General Internal Medicine

Stop It Now!

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

Trust for America’s Health

Virginia Public Health Association

Washington State Public Health Association

Doctors for America mobilizes doctors and medical students to be leaders in putting patients over politics on the pressing issues of the day to improve the health of our patients, communities, and nation.


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