Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The American Medical Association to Lobby for Gun Violence Research

In the United States, federal funding cannot be used by the Center for Disease Control to study gun violence.  Though the American Medical Association (AMA) has attempted to direct funding for such research in the past, Congress has prevented them from gaining access to this money.  The research proposed would enable physicians to better treat gun injuries and help public health officials understand what measures are necessary to reduce gun violence.  Opponents from the NRA argue that gun control is a political matter and that physicians should have no say in this issue.  Ultimately, I think it will be politicians who craft gun laws, but physicians may be able to further understand the medical effects caused by gun violence, and which people are more likely to use guns inappropriately.  Also, public health employees are more qualified to discuss the effects of gun control with politicians.  Are there other groups more adept to conduct such research?  Another article lists that Johns Hopkins has a center for gun research, so perhaps the funding could be allocated to groups like this one.  Available data suggests that background checks prevent criminals from obtaining guns, and that certain types of gun storage may prevent shootings, presumably because the potential shooter would fail to access the gun.  Data from other countries shows that three European countries have more mass shootings per capita than in the United States, but other advanced civilizations do not.  Perhaps the United States can learn from gun violence research in other countries until the funding is granted.  Feel free to comment.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-06-14/ama-calls-gun-violence-a-public-health-crisis, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/gun-control-laws-research/424956/, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/jun/22/barack-obama/barack-obama-correct-mass-killings-dont-happen-oth/