In the wake of the shootings last December that killed 20 children and 6 educators at a Newtown, Conn, elementary school, politicians and community leaders across the United States began debating how to best prevent such tragedies in the future. But it became painfully apparent that they had few data to guide them because of a dearth of public health research on gun violence.
Federally funded gun research was all but curtailed in 1996, when Congress cut $2.6 million, the amount the agency had spent on gun research in the previous year, from the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in part because some members of Congress objected to research that might be used to promote gun control (http://bit.ly/12uHIFo). But in the aftermath of the Newtown killings, President Obama issued 23 executive orders to bolster research on firearm violence, what causes it, how it can be prevented, and how to minimize its public health impact.
Kuehn BM. IOM Details an Ambitious Agenda for US Gun Violence Research. JAMA. 2013;310(1):21. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.8108