Gun Violence, Research, and Advocacy

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Nurses Edition Commentary

Kathy Garvin, RN and Lisa Chavez, RN
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Ben R. -

Hey,
This was a great segment that brings attention to an important issue--namely, lack of federal funding to research a cause of significant morbidity and mortality in our country.

I wanted to draw attention to one statement that you made, Anand, around 5:40. Gun violence may seem like it's at an all time high (ie. prominent media coverage) but, from what I can tell, it's lower than when many of us grew up in the 70s/80s/90s. Especially with hot-button issues, it's important that we don't over-state the problem, lest those with opposing views characterize gun safety/research advocates as out-of-touch with reality.

Thanks again for the segment,
ben

Sources:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/17/guns-are-now-killing-as-many-people-as-cars-in-the-u-s/?utm_term=.7c461e9cf89e
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/10/21/gun-homicides-steady-after-decline-in-90s-suicide-rate-edges-up/

Megan R. -

Thanks for this response, Ben. You're totally right that levels decreased in the late 90s/early 2000s. The mortality rate now has however been going up steadily since ~2010. According to the most recent available data, it is currently at approximately 12/100,000 - lower than in the midst of the 80s drug wars, but higher than other points in American history.

Anyhow, thank you for listening and for your very thoughtful comment :) - Megan R.

Lane S. -

Colleagues:

Like others listening to EMRAP, I’m in favor of more high quality research on gun violence - the operative words being high and quality. I’m skeptical that some of the researchers and vocal advocates in academia are equipped to perform this research in an unbiased manner. For example, exaggerations such as gun violence being at an all-time high in the US makes me think that far too many clinicians are willing to put the policy “cart” before the research “horse” when dealing with this particular topic.

The ACP position statement that sparked this most recent debate is another example of putting policy and ideology before evidence. In it, you will find a number of positions such as bans on semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines , as well as comments on concealed carry that are poorly supported by existing evidence.

For those interested in a good summary of the existing evidence on firearms policy and research, the Rand Corporation keeps excellent tabs on the quality of the existing evidence in this space.

So yes, I say increase the level of funding in this area. However, I hope that some of that funding will be directed outside of academia and toward private research institutions such as Rand. Multiple sets of eyes from different perspectives are likely to give us the most useful information on this topic.

Anand S., M.D. -

Lane - I definitely confused this issue with my comment about violence being at an all time high. Luckily, Dr. Ranney corrected me (see above comment from her).
Thanks for your thoughts, have forwarded to Dr. Ranney as well.

Megan R. -

What the good Dr. Swaminathan said. And thanks for your support of increasing funding. Take a look at our work at www.affirmresearch.org - a non-partisan external program. I totally agree with RAND's great work, as well.

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