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Science Careers Blog

January 14, 2013

Scores of Researchers Demand an End to Federal Gun Research Ban

More than 70 prominent researchers from epidemiology, neuroscience, psychology, economics, psychiatry, biostatistics, criminology, sociology, surgery, law, business, nursing, emergency medicine, forensic science, public policy, and other fields have joined forces to send a letter to Vice President Biden asking that his forthcoming recommendations to President Obama on preventing gun violence include removing "the current barriers to firearm-related research, policy formation, evaluation and enforcement efforts."  In addition, the researchers urge, the federal government should "make direct investments in unbiased scientific research and data infrastructure" on gun issues.

As we recently noted,  a Congressionally-enacted ban inspired by the National Rifle Association currently prevents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health from collecting data on firearm injuries.  "Gun policy research and evaluation should be carried out through the normal processes of scientific peer-review employed in other important areas of clinical medicine and public health," the researchers write. 

In fact, "Congress should increase funding to relevant federal agencies for the purpose of studying, developing and evaluating policy and practice aimed at reducing firearm violence,"  they add.  As Inside Higher Ed notes, "the 'politically-motivated constraints' have limited research that could help the country prevent gun violence, the letter says."

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