What is the problem?
Though more than 40,000 people are killed with guns in the U.S. every year, Congress has restricted research on the causes and impacts of gun violence. Research on gun violence could lead to the development of life-saving scientific and policy solutions.
Since the passing of a Congressional budget restriction known as the Dickey Amendment in 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have severely underfunded gun violence research. In 2019 and 2020, for the first time in decades, Congress passed a funding bill each year that appropriated $25 million for gun violence research. Additional funding is still needed to investigate its causes and develop solutions.
Why is it an issue?
America must invest in gun violence research.
Though gun violence is the leading cause of death among children and teens and the 13th leading cause of death among all ages, research funding for gun violence prevention ranks 33rd among other leading causes of death.
Government investments in research on motor vehicle accidents has led to innovations like criminalizing unsafe driving, requiring seat belts, and equipping highways with guardrails. These measures have helped reduce the fatality of motor vehicle accidents by 78% from 1968 to 2018. Such sustained government investment is long overdue for gun violence.
By the numbers
CDC funding for gun injury prevention fell by 92 percent between 1996 and 2019.
From 2009 to 2018, gun violence killed over 350,000 people in the U.S. but received only $46 per life lost in federal research funding.