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AAP: Gun violence prevention research funding ‘historic’ :

December 16, 2019

The AAP is applauding a congressional deal that would appropriate $25 million to gun violence prevention research.

The funding “will make historic progress to protect children, families and communities from gun violence,” AAP President Kyle E. Yasuda, M.D., FAAP, said in a statement.

"The significance of this moment, hard-fought and tirelessly led by pediatricians across specialties and backgrounds, cannot be overstated,” he said. “From the emergency room pediatrician who treats the youngest victims of gun violence to the academic researcher who knows what we need to further understand the causes of gun violence in the first place, pediatricians have been speaking up about the need for public health research for decades. Today it is clear that Congress heard our message.”

The funding would go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health. If Congress ultimately votes to approve the plan, it will mark the first federal investment into such research in two decades.

In 1996, Congress passed the Dickey Amendment, which prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using public health money to advocate for gun control. The prohibition was not intended to end research into gun violence, but it has impeded it.

Gun violence prevention has been a consistent priority for the AAP and has regularly appeared in the Annual Leadership Forum top 10 resolutions. In April, participants at the AAP Legislative Conference visited 264 congressional offices, urging lawmakers to protect children from gun violence, in part by funding research.

In May, the AAP held the Summit on Gun Injury Prevention: Mobilizing for Action to Protect Children and Youth, which brought together 74 experts from health care, public health, law enforcement, business, education, faith and community, who also represented a range of experience with guns and gun ownership.

The AAP also joined other health groups in August to develop detailed policy recommendations that included comprehensive criminal background checks, research, improved access to mental health care, expanded firearm prohibitions for those found guilty of domestic violence, regulations on high-capacity weapons, and more.

Dr. Yasuda called on Congress to vote on the funding deal “without delay.

"On the heels of the seven year anniversary of Sandy Hook, we are reminded of the lives that have been taken too soon by gun violence, and look to today's progress as a glimmer of hope that we can make a difference by working together to keep children safe,” he said.

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