For the period 2006-2016, guns were the second-leading cause of death for children (1-18 years of age) in the United States (according to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Gun violence deaths surpassed deaths from cancer and trailed only deaths due to motor vehicle crashes. Of the gun violence deaths, nearly 63% were homicides, 31% were suicides.
Research that could help track, analyze, and contribute toward solutions for gun violence has been hobbled by U.S. Congressional action in 1996 that prevented the “CDC—the government’s lead injury prevention agency—from spending money ‘to advocate or promote gun control.’ That law was widely interpreted as banning any CDC studies that probe firearm violence or how to prevent it.”
This may be changing. The Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens (FACTS) Consortium has received “the largest firearm research grant that the U.S. National Institutes of Health has awarded in at least 30 years” ($4.9 million). The grant is a 5-year project “to build capacity for researching firearm injuries in children.” The grant is unique in gun violence research in the last 20 years in the United States in that “this is the first time that an award has been made not just to do a project, but to set up an infrastructure that would allow a lot of projects to be done.”
The politics in the United States about guns and gun violence and the reluctance of decision makers to change the status quo have contributed to these thousands of deaths. The FACTS project could be/may be a fresh start–to search for common ground among all involved parties.
“We are not having any conversations here that are an ‘us and them’ narrative.” “We are about reducing kids dying.”
(Meredith Wadman, Science, December 6, 2018).
For more information about gun violence and public health issues, search the Science Primary Literature (database).
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