Statements From Major Science Organizations on Guns: and other resources

American Association for the Advancement of Science:

“The AAAS has joined 140 medical, public health, scientific, and academic organizations in urging Congress to drop legislative language that has restricted research on gun violence through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees, the organizations ─ including the American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians ─ cited the impact of federal public health research in reducing deaths from car accidents, smoking and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”

National Academy of Sciences:

“If policy makers are to have a solid empirical and research base for decisions about firearms and violence, the federal government needs to support a systematic program of data collection and research that specifically addresses that issue.”

American Medical Association:

AMA Calls Gun Violence “A Public Health Crisis;” Will Actively Lobby Congress to Lift Ban on CDC Gun Violence Research-2016

AMA Expands Policy on Background Checks, Waiting Periods to Include All Gun Purchasers

“Our AMA recognizes that uncontrolled ownership and use of firearms, especially handguns, is a serious threat to the public’s health inasmuch as the weapons are one of the main causes of intentional and unintentional injuries and deaths. Therefore, the AMA: (1) encourages and endorses the development and presentation of safety education programs that will engender more responsible use and storage of firearms;
(2) urges that government agencies, the CDC in particular, enlarge their efforts in the study of firearm-related injuries and in the development of ways and means of reducing such injuries and deaths;
(3) urges Congress to enact needed legislation to regulate more effectively the importation and interstate traffic of all handguns;
(4) urges the Congress to support recent legislative efforts to ban the manufacture and importation of nonmetallic, not readily detectable weapons, which also resemble toy guns; (5) encourages the improvement or modification of firearms so as to make them as safe as humanly possible;
(6) encourages nongovernmental organizations to develop and test new, less hazardous designs for firearms;
(7) urges that a significant portion of any funds recovered from firearms manufacturers and dealers through legal proceedings be used for gun safety education and gun-violence prevention; and
(8) strongly urges US legislators to fund further research into the epidemiology of risks related to gun violence on a national level.”

American Psychological Association:

 What Works: Policies to Reduce Gun Violence
The use of a gun greatly increases the odds that violence will lead to a fatality: This problem calls for urgent action. Firearm prohibitions for high-risk groups — domestic violence offenders, persons convicted of violent misdemeanor crimes, and individuals with mental illness who have been adjudicated as being a threat to themselves or to others — have been shown to reduce violence. The licensing of handgun purchasers, background check requirements for all gun sales, and close oversight of retail gun sellers can reduce the diversion of guns to criminals. Reducing the incidence of gun violence will require interventions through multiple systems, including legal, public health, public safety, community, and health. Increasing the availability of data and funding will help inform and evaluate policies designed to reduce gun violence.

American Psychiatric Association:

Expand the Brady background checks to gun shows.

Current law makes the purchase and/or have possession
of weapons by certain classes of people illegal.
While gun dealers with Federal Firearms Licenses
(FFLs) are required to conduct background checks prior
to a sale, other sellers are not required to do so. As a
result proscribed persons can still purchase weapons
from them without impediment. By uniformly requireing
a background check for the commercial sale of
firearms, we can reduce inappropriate sales and
decrease the risk of handgun injuries.


Support a limitation on the number of guns that can be
purchased during a given time period.
Diversion of weapons from the legal market to a
secondary market, where criminals and other unauthorized
persons can purchase them, contributes to
handgun misuse and injury. Limitations on volume
purchases can prevent straw purchases (the lawful
procurement of firearms by an authorized individual
with the intent to sell them to unauthorized persons),
thereby reducing the number of criminals and proscribed
persons with guns and, as a result, diminish the
number of handgun injuries.


Restore the waiting period between the time an individual
purchases a weapon and the time s/he takes
possession of it.
Data demonstrate that both homicide and suicide are
often “acts of passion” and if the means to commit the
act are not immediately available, the passion may ebb
and death and injury may be avoided.


Action: To promote public safety, we support
aggressive enforcement of current laws against illegal
possession, purchase and sale of handguns.
Just as strict enforcement of blood alcohol levels has
reduced drunk driving, consistent prosecution of illegal
possession or sale of guns can deter such behavior.
Aggressive enforcement of the law can prevent those who
have guns illegally from using them, and reduce the
number of guns circulating in the secondary market. As a
result, injuries are likely to be reduced.

Many deaths and injuries from gun violence can be
prevented through national and state legislative and
regulatory measures. Recognizing that the vast majority
of gun violence is not attributable to mental illness,
the APA views the broader problem of firearm-related
injury as a public health issue and supports interventions
that reduce the risk of such harm. Actions to
minimize firearm injuries and violence should include:


a. Requiring background checks and waiting periods
on all gun sales or transactions;


b. Requiring safe storage of all firearms in the home,
office or other places of daily assembly;


c. Regulating the characteristics of firearms to promote
safe use for lawful purposes and to reduce
the likelihood that they can be fired by anyone
other than the owner without the owner’s consent;
d. Banning possession of firearms on the grounds of
colleges, hospitals, and similar institutions by
anyone other than law enforcement and security
personnel; and


e. Assuring that physicians and other health care

professionals are free to make clinically appropriate
inquiries of patients and others about
possession of and access to firearms and take
necessary steps to reduce the risk of loss of life by
suicide, homicide, and accidental injury.


2. Research and training on the causes of firearm
violence and its effective control, including risk
assessment and management, should be a national


a. Administrative, regulatory and/or legislative
barriers to federal support for violence research,
including research on firearms violence and
deaths, should be removed.


b. Given the difficulty in accurately identifying those
persons likely to commit acts of violence, federal
resources should be directed toward the development
and testing of methods that assist in the
identification of individuals at heightened risk of
committing violence against themselves or others
with firearms.


c. The federal government should develop and fund
a national database of firearm injuries. This
database should include information about all
homicides, suicides, and unintentional deaths
and injuries, categorized by specific weapon type,
as well as information about the individuals
involved (absent personal identifiers), geographic
location, circumstances, point of purchase, date
and other policy-relevant information.


d. Funding for research on firearm injuries and
deaths should draw on a broad range of public
and private resources and support, such as the
Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes
of Health, and the National Science


e. All physicians and other health professionals
should continue to be trained to assess and
respond to those individuals who may be at
heightened risk for violence or suicide. Such
training should include education about speaking
with patients about firearm access and safety.
Appropriate federal, state, and local resources
should be allocated for training of these professionals.
Resources should be increased for safety
education programs related to responsible use
and storage of firearms.


American Academy of Pediatrics:

AAP’s top priorities in federal gun violence prevention advocacy are:

  • Stronger gun laws. Enactment of common-sense firearm legislation, including stronger background checks, banning assault weapons, addressing firearm trafficking, and encouraging safe firearm storage.
  • Violence prevention programs. Support for programs addressing the needs of at-risk children and children exposed to violence, including those at CDC and DOJ.
  • Research. Funding for gun violence prevention research and public health surveillance, including $10 million to support gun violence prevention research at CDC, and expanding the National Violent Death Reporting System to all 50 states.
  • Physician counseling. Protecting the crucial role of physicians in providing anticipatory guidance to patients about the health hazards of firearms.
  • Mental Health Access. Ensuring children and their families have access to appropriate mental health services, particularly to address the effects of exposure to violence.

American Public Health Association:

The American Public Health Association, Recognizing that handgun deaths and injuries‐including suicides, suicide attempts, homicides, assaults, and unintentional shootings‐constitute a major public health problem in the United States
Understanding that the United States lacks a comprehensive licensing and registration system which would help to curtail the movement of handguns into the illegal market;
Recognizing that the collection and analysis of detailed information about handgun injuries and the movement of handguns in the population is essential to the design and evaluation of injury prevention interventions.
1. Supports the enactment of federal, state, and local laws designed to limit access to handguns, to limit handgun purchases, including those at gun shows, to limit access to high‐powered assault pistols with no legitimate sporting or hunting purpose, and to reduce access to permits‐to‐carry a concealed handgun;

2. Recommends the creation and evaluation of comprehensive national, state, and local data collection systems to facilitate research on the prevention of handgun‐related fatalities and injuries and the movement of handguns within the population;

3. Recommends regulation of the gun industry in order to reduce handgun injury attributable to industry practices, including the design, marketing, and distribution of handguns;

4. Encourages the creation and evaluation of community‐ and school‐based programs (including coalitions) targeting the prevention of

5. Recommends education on the dangers of handguns, especially in the home for public health and mental health professionals;

6. Recommends that health and mental health providers advise their clients about the hazards of handguns.

American College of Surgeons:

Because violence inflicted by guns continues to be a daily event in the United States and mass casualties involving firearms threaten the health and safety of the public, the American College of Surgeons supports:

  1. Legislation banning civilian access to assault weapons, large ammunition clips, and munitions designed for military and law enforcement agencies.
  2. Enhancing mandatory background checks for the purchase of firearms to include gun shows and auctions.
  3. Ensuring that health care professionals can fulfill their role in preventing firearm injuries by health screening, patient counseling, and referral to mental health services for those with behavioral medical conditions.
  4. Developing and promoting proactive programs directed at improving safe gun storage and the teaching of non-violent conflict resolution for a culture that often glorifies guns and violence in media and gaming.
  5. Evidence-based research on firearm injury and the creation of a national firearm injury database to inform federal health policy
Other Resources:

Gun research faces roadblocks and a dearth of data

Harvard Researcher found a preliminary consensus:

John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research:


Informing policy with evidence and analysis: (2014 pdf)

Scientific American:

Gun Researchers: Orlando Mass Shooting Is a Public Health Emergency

Orlando Massacre Exposes Need for More Gun Control, Not More Counterterrorism

6 Things Americans Should Know about Mass Shootings

Science Daily:

Since gun law reform and the Firearms Buyback program 20 years ago, Australia has seen an accelerating decline in intentional firearm deaths and an absence of fatal mass shootings, theJournal of the American Medical Association(JAMA) reports in a landmark study.

Americans are ten times more likely to die from firearms than citizens of other developed countries

Three state laws that ‘substantially reduce’ gun deaths

The JAMA Network Journals Summary: A more restrictive gun law environment was associated with a reduced likelihood of youth carrying guns, according to an article. An average of 15,000 teenagers 12 to 19 years old died annually in the United States from 1999 to 2013. The three leading causes of death among teenagers were unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide. Among these fatal youth injuries, most homicides were gun-related (83 percent) and about half of suicides involved a gun (45 percent).

Guns in the home provide greater health risk than benefit

Guns do not make a nation safer

Strong regulations on gun sales prevent high-risk individuals from accessing firearms, can reduce violent crime


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Guns, Politics, Resources, Statements From Science Orginizations

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