Gun violence prevention research “starting to find its footing”


As gun violence surges across the nation, the scientific journal Nature reports that researchers finally are beginning to “have the money to ask why.”

The report chronicles how federal lawmakers are again dedicating money to gun violence prevention research, after a quarter century in which the gun lobby blocked it. Congress has authorized $25 million each of the past two years for the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control, and the Biden administration has proposed raising the figure to $50 million annually.

Researchers and health policy experts welcome the reopened tap, but say it’s just a start on the federal investment needed. The Nature article cites a new analysis released by the Foundation and Arnold Ventures, finding that sufficient research and data systems to help stem the violence and save lives would cost between $587 and $639 million in federal funding over five years – double what the administration is requesting.

Nina Vinik, a Foundation consultant and former director of its Gun Violence Prevention and Justice Reform program, is cited in the article attributing renewed interest to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut. The 2012 tragedy, in which 20 children and six adults were slain, strengthened advocates’ case that federal research funding “was just an easy one for people to understand and get behind,” Vinik says.

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Joyce is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.

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