The following is a statement from Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
“The American Academy of Pediatrics has been strong and clear: gun violence is a public health crisis. Pediatricians have been speaking out about the toll gun violence takes on our patients for decades; we counsel grieving parents, we treat bullet wounds in tiny bodies, and we educate families about keeping their homes safe. This week, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives took unprecedented action to address gun violence as a public health threat by recommending $50 million to research gun violence in its healthcare and education funding bill. This is a major step toward rebuilding the public health research community dedicated to understanding how to prevent firearm injuries and fatalities.
“Federally funded public health research will help us understand how and why gun violence impacts our communities, and what we can do to prevent it. Research on other public health issues has led to life-saving interventions, from seat belts for car accidents to safe sleep techniques to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. We must use this same approach to protect children and families from gun violence. That’s why the AAP and 165 other medical, public health, and research organizations came together this year supporting $50 million for this critical research at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC is the nation’s premiere public health research agency, and reviving its role in supporting this research is vital.
“All children deserve to be safe where they live, learn and play. While it will take a comprehensive approach to make this possible, investing in federally funded gun violence prevention research is a pivotal step forward to keep our communities safer.
“The Academy thanks U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) for their longstanding leadership on this issue. Pediatricians urge lawmakers to advance the $50 million for this research without delay so that we can better understand the causes of gun violence and what we can do to save lives.”