This may be the fifth or sixth study I have presented detailing that guns in the home, for defense, are vastly more related to gun deaths of those in the gun homeAccidents Don't HappenArthur Kellermann addresses gun violence and injuries as preventable public health problems
, By John D. Thomas
As director of the Center for Injury Control (CIC) in the Rollins School of Public Health, Kellermann approaches injuries not as random, unavoidable acts but as preventable public health priorities. "Injury is a gigantic public health problem, although it is not conventionally thought of the way we think of cancer or heart disease or infectious diseases," he says, sitting in his sunny, cluttered office on Clifton Road. "It's the leading cause of death in the United States for Americans between the ages of one and forty-five. . . .
"You may be in great shape," Kellermann says, "a nonsmoker, and eat the right foods. But before five o'clock tonight [you or I could] be dead or permanently disabled from an event the public considers an `accident.' However, there's really no such thing as an accident. Injuries affect high-risk groups and follow an often predictable chain of events
, as surely as lung cancer and heart disease follow smoking
. Public health has taught us that any adverse health event that is predictable is also preventable. It's that simple
."http://www.emory.edu/EMORY_MAGAZINE/summer95/kellermann.htmlSilencing the Science on Gun Research
Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH; Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH
As shock and grief give way to anger after the Sandy Hook mass shootings, the urge to act is powerful. But beyond helping the survivors deal with their grief and consequences of this horror, what can the medical and public health community do? What actions can the nation take to prevent more such acts from happening, or at least limit their severity? More broadly, what can be done to reduce the number of US residents who die each year from firearms, currently more than 31 000 annually
The answers are undoubtedly complex and at this point, only partly known. For gun violence, particularly mass killings such as that in Newtown, to occur, intent and means must converge at a particular time and place. Decades of research have been devoted to understanding the factors that lead some people to commit violence against themselves or others. Substantially less has been done to understand how easy access to firearms mitigates or amplifies both the likelihood and consequences of these acts
For example, background checks have an effect on inappropriate procurement of guns from licensed dealers, but private gun sales require no background check
. Laws mandating a minimum age for gun ownership reduce gun fatalities, but firearms still pass easily from legal owners to juveniles and other legally proscribed individuals, such as felons or persons with mental illness. Because ready access to guns in the home increases, rather than reduces
, a family's risk of homicide in the home, safe storage of guns might save lives. Nevertheless, many gun owners, including gun-owning parents, still keep at least one firearm loaded and readily available for self-defense
.The nation might be in a better position to act if medical and public health researchers had continued to study these issues as diligently as some of us did between 1985 and 1997
. But in 1996, pro-gun members of Congress mounted an all-out effort to eliminate the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
. Although they failed to defund the center, the House of Representatives removed $2.6 million from the CDC's budget*—precisely the amount the agency had spent on firearm injury research the previous year. Funding was restored in joint conference committee, but the money was earmarked for traumatic brain injury. *The effect was sharply reduced support for firearm injury research
. Note: In 1996, Republicans retained an overall majority in the House for the first time since the Great Depression
To ensure that the CDC and its grantees got the message, the following language was added to the final appropriation: none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control
.http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1487470N.R.A. Stymies Firearms Research, Scientists Say
Are communities where more people carry guns safer or less safe? Does the availability of high-capacity magazines increase deaths? Do more rigorous background checks make a difference?
The reality is that even these and other basic questions cannot be fully answered, because not enough research has been done. And there is a reason for that
. Scientists in the field and former officials with the government agency that used to finance the great bulk of this research say the influence of the National Rife Association has all but choked off money for such work
.We’ve been stopped from answering the basic questions
, said Mark Rosenberg, former director of the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was for about a decade the leading source of financing for firearms research.
Chris Cox, the N.R.A.’s chief lobbyist, said his group had not tried to squelch genuine scientific inquiries, just politically slanted ones.
“Our concern is not with legitimate medical science,” Mr. Cox said. “Our concern is they were promoting the idea that gun ownership was a disease that needed to be eradicated.”
The amount of money available today for studying the impact of firearms is a fraction of what it was in the mid-1990s, and the number of scientists toiling in the field has dwindled to just a handful as a result
, researchers say.
The dearth of money can be traced in large measure to a clash between public health scientists and the N.R.A. in the mid-1990s. At the time, Dr. Rosenberg and others at the C.D.C. were becoming increasingly assertive about the importance of studying gun-related injuries and deaths as a public health phenomenon, financing studies that found, for example, having a gun in the house, rather than conferring protection, significantly increased the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance
.Alarmed, the N.R.A. and its allies on Capitol Hill fought back
. The injury center was guilty of “putting out papers that were really political opinion masquerading as medical science
,” said Mr. Cox, who also worked on this issue for the N.R.A. more than a decade ago.
Initially, pro-gun lawmakers sought to eliminate the injury center completely, arguing that its work was “redundant” and reflected a political agenda. When that failed, they turned to the appropriations process. In 1996, Representative Jay Dickey, Republican of Arkansas, succeeded in pushing through an amendment that stripped $2.6 million from the disease control centers’ budget, the very amount it had spent on firearms-related research the year before
.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/us/26guns.html #strictgunlaws #NRA #terrorists