New Report: Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence - General News - News | The Joyce Foundation
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New Report: Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence

June 6, 2013 01:09 PM

The Joyce Foundation commends the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council for its report issued on June 5, 2013, “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence.” The report recognizes the devastating public health consequences of firearm violence, and calls for a comprehensive approach that focuses on prevention, scientific methodology to identify risk and patterns, and multidisciplinary collaboration to address the issue.  It highlights the scarcity of research on firearm-related violence as limiting policy makers’ ability to propose evidence-based solutions that reduce injuries and deaths, and notes the many federal and state laws that restrict government’s ability to collect and share basic information about gun sales, ownership and possession. In addition, the report notes that restrictions on the CDC’s use of federal funding “to advocate or promote gun control” had effectively halted all federally-funded firearm-related research, resulting in diminished progress in understanding the causes and effects of firearm violence. 

The report was prepared in response to President Obama’s executive order issued in January 2013 directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies to support research on the prevention of gun violence, and to identify the most pressing research questions relating to firearm violence.  The CDC and the CDC Foundation requested the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in collaboration with the National Research Council, to develop recommendations for a research agenda on the problem of gun violence and its prevention.  IOM convened an expert committee which held a public workshop including comments from advocates and current researchers, and considered the existing literature.

The IOM recommends research on five broad topics, with the following specific research questions in each area:

Characteristics of firearm violence

  • characterize the scope of and motivations for gun acquisition, ownership and use, and how are they distributed across subpopulations
  • characterize differences in nonfatal and fatal gun use across the US

 Risk and protective factors

  •  identify factors associated with youth having access to, possessing, and carrying guns
  • evaluate the potential health risks and benefits (e.g. suicide rates, personal protection) of having a firearm in the home under a variety of circumstances (including storage practices) and settings
  • improve understanding of risk factors that influence the probability of firearm violence in specific high-risk physical locations

Interventions and strategies

  • Improve understanding of whether interventions intended to diminish the illegal carrying of firearms reduce firearm violence
  • Improve understanding of whether reducing criminal access to legally purchased guns reduces firearm violence
  • Improve understanding of the effectiveness of actions directed at preventing access to firearms by violence -prone individuals
  • Determine the degree to which various childhood education or prevention programs reduce firearm violence in childhood and later in life
  • Do programs to alter physical environments in high-crime areas result in a decrease in firearm violence?

Gun safety technology

  • Identify the effects of different technological approaches to reduce firearm-related injury and death
  • examine past consumer experiences with accepting safety technologies to inform the development and uptake of new gun safety technologies

The  influence of video games and other media

  • examine the relationship between exposure to media violence and real-life violence

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