Citation(s) from the literature library

Wintemute, Garen J. 2013 ‘Responding to the Crisis of Firearm Violence in the United States: Role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the 1990s.’ JAMA Internal Medicine; 173 (9), p. 740. Chicago IL: American Medical Association. 6 March

Relevant contents

The disappearance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research program in this [firearm violence] field in the 1990s has been well documented (4,5). A complementary program at the National Institute of Justice survived longer, thanks to the tenacity of its program officer, but ended after she retired in 2008.

Today, with almost no funding for firearm violence research, there are almost no researchers. Counting all academic disciplines together, no more than a dozen active, experienced investigators in the United States have focused their careers primarily on firearm violence. Only 2 are physicians. Only 1 has evaluated the effectiveness of an assault weapons ban (6).

Why did this happen? In the early 1990s, scientists were producing evidence that might have been used to reform the nation's firearm policies. To those whose interests were threatened by such reforms, it made perfect sense to choke off the production of the evidence. This effort was led by Congressman Jay Dickey, self-described "point person for the NRA." (7) It succeeded. When rates of firearm violence were at historic highs and appeared to be increasing, the government abandoned its commitment to understanding the problem and devising evidence-based solutions…

Now, President Obama has directed the CDC to resume firearm violence research. To my knowledge, however, no CDC researcher has done more than occasional work in this field in 15 years.

[NRA = National Rifle Association]

Sources cited:

4) Kellermann AL, Rivara FP. Silencing the science on gun research. JAMA. 2013; 309(6):549-550.

5) Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Accessed denied: how the gun lobby is depriving police, policy makers, and the public of the data we need to prevent gun violence. Accessed January 27, 2013.

6) Koper CS, Woods DJ, Roth JA. An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban—Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003: Final Report to the National Institute of Justice. Philadelphia, PA: Jerry Lee Center of Criminology University of Pennsylvania; 2004.

7) Dickey J, Rosenberg M. 'Senseless' is not studying gun violence. Washington Post. July 29, 2012.

ID: Q11280

As many publishers change their links and archive their pages, the full-text version of this article may no longer be available from the original link. In this case, please go to the publisher's web site or use a search engine.