In March, in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, Congress wrote that CDC is free to probe the causes of gun violence, despite the Dickey amendment. (The agency has not done so, citing a lack of money.) And annual firearm-related funding from NIH, according to a search of its RePORTER database, roughly tripled after a 2013 presidential directive that was issued in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Just as importantly, the agency began to flag firearm violence in some of its calls for research.
…Their animating principle is that gun violence, like any other public health bane, can be tackled scientifically, divorced from any political agenda. “There is a science to injury prevention,” Cunningham says. She and others note that decades of studies on motor vehicle safety led to evidence-based policies such as car seat and seat belt laws, which have dramatically reduced childhood motor vehicle fatalities even though many more cars are on the road.
…Cunningham is confident that the problem of gun violence can be solved with science—and with participation from all sides. So, she keeps searching for common ground. “We are not having any conversations here that are an ‘us and them’ narrative,” she told scientists at the meeting. “We are about reducing kids dying.”