Public health experts say it's time to resume federal research into gun violence

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As the gun violence debate takes center stage in the wake of last week’s mass killings in Newtown Connecticut, some public health experts say it’s time for Congress to allow a resumption of firearm injury research.

In an article published in the online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Drs. Arthur Kellermann of the RAND  Corporation and Dr. Frederick Rivara of the University of Washington are calling on Congress to end its 16-year moratorium on most firearm injury prevention research.                   

The authors point out that the U.S. has long relied on public health research to successfully decrease the number of deaths from such things as fires, swimming pools accidents and car crashes.   And they say a restoration of such studies into firearm injuries is needed develop similar strategies to reduce gun violence.

The article, called, “Silencing the Science on Gun Research,” says that under pressure from pro-gun members, Congress  in 1996 banned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studies that "advocate or promote gun control.”

The authors say since then, at least 427,000 U.S. residents have died of gunshot wounds. By comparison, during that same period 4,586 U.S. soldiers died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.