Update: Congress Relaxes Restrictions on Gun Violence Research

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Update: Congress Relaxes Restrictions on Gun Violence Research

ANA supports disarming the Dickey Amendment

By Working Nurse
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Last month, Working Nurse reported on the Dickey Amendment, a budget provision that for over 20 years has barred most CDC research on gun violence. Now, the recent omnibus appropriations act may have relaxed that restriction. Both the ANA and American Academy of Nursing strongly approve this action.

Approval Without Funding

The so-called Dickey Amendment, first introduced in 1996, prohibits the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its agencies, including the CDC, from using federal funds “to advocate or promote gun control.” That rule has largely discouraged the CDC from studying the public health impact of gun violence or gun laws.

While the Dickey Amendment remains in the recently approved 2018 appropriations bill, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.-7) succeeded in adding a provision stating unequivocally that “the CDC has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.” (Murphy still hopes to pass H.R. 1478, an ANA-supported bill that would completely repeal the Dickey Amendment.)

Some public health advocates, including the American Public Health Association (APHA), say this clarification will encourage the CDC to resume gun violence research. However, the appropriations act does not authorize any funding for such research in fiscal 2018.

Public Health Steps Up

Although it remains to be seen whether federal research will resume, the APHA recently announced that it will allow free, open access to all gun-related research papers and commentaries published in the American Journal of Public Health. Future articles on firearm research will also be made publicly available.

“The public health community is stepping up to fill the knowledge gap,” says editor-in-chief Alfredo Morabia, M.D., Ph.D. The journal, he says, “has published some of the finest cutting-edge research on firearm safety and violence, and we’re proud to offer these insights to the research community, elected officials, advocates for violence prevention and journalists.”

You can access the papers at ajph.aphapublications.org.

Illustration: JAMA.

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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