Stop the suppression of gun research

The U.S. has more gun deaths per capita than any of the world’s two dozen highest-income countries. Yet the government, at the behest of the gun lobby, limits the collection of data on gun-related deaths, prevents researchers from obtaining such data, and severely restricts funds for gun research, says Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s David Hemenway. It’s crucial, he argues, that scientists push back.

In a June 13, 2017 comment in the journal Nature, Hemenway, professor of health policy and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, offered troubling statistics about the state of gun-related violence in the U.S. He noted, for instance, that roughly 300 Americans are shot every day in the U.S. and 100 die from gunshot wounds in murders, attempted suicides, or accidents. Children in the U.S. are significantly more likely to be murdered with a gun, to use a gun to take their own life, or to be killed in a gun accident than children of the same age in other high-income countries. Currently, firearm-related violence is classified as the third leading cause of U.S. injury and death, after motor vehicles and opioids, according to Hemenway.

“The American Bar Association and many medical societies have spoken out on the firearm funding limitations imposed by Congress,” Hemeway wrote. “Now all scientific associations need to add their voices.”

Read David Hemenway’s comment in Nature: Fight the silencing of gun research

Learn more

Federal funding needed for gun violence research (Harvard Chan School news)

Do guns make us safer? Science says no (Harvard Chan School news)

Gun violence is a public health issue (Harvard Chan School news)

Guns & Suicide: The Hidden Toll (Harvard Public Health magazine)