More than 30,000 people die from gun-related incidents in the United States every year. When compared to other threats, such as malnutrition, peptic ulcer, viral hepatitis, atherosclerosis, intestinal infections, Parkinson’s disease, and even HIV, gun violence comes in first place. Even so, the funding required for researching the main causes that stand at the core of gun-related incidents is lagging far behind other major causes of death, reads the study published on Tuesday, January 3rd, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The funding predicted for gun violence revolved around $1.4 billion. However, the authors of the study recorded only $22 million spent so far. In percentage points, this adds up to only the 1.6 percent needed to efficiently conduct further studies into the matter. Furthermore, out of nearly 40,000 publications predicted, only 1738 have surfaced so far. When comparing sepsis and gun violence, the latter claimed just as many lives. However, the funding for gun violence equals only 0.7 percent of that attributed to sepsis, leading the researchers to declare that gun-related causes of death are the least-researched and rank second as the least-funded, after falls.
Scientists who contributed to the paper now see gun violence as an infectious disease and flagged the phenomenon as a public health crisis. Andrew Papachristos, Yale University sociologist was the first to associate gun violence with an epidemic with a potential to spread fast.
“What our study shows is that gun violence cascades over time”, said Andrew Papachristos.
The study calls for a more coordinated approach to drive gun violence down, which implies viewing the problem as a public health epidemic rather than just a policing issue. As far as the lack of proper financing goes, the paper also explains the major reason why researchers face funding problems for this kind of surveys. According to the study, a 1996 congressional appropriations bill prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use funds for research that promotes gun control. Hence, even though the legislation does not outright ban gun-related research, it has been described as casting a pall over the research community.
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