In the United States, firearms are involved in tens of thousands of deaths and injuries each year. The magnitude of this problem prompted the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to issue a report in 2004 detailing the strengths and limitations of existing research on the relationship between firearms and violence. In response, a multidisciplinary group of experts in the field of firearms and violence formed the National Research Collaborative on Firearm Violence. The Collaborative met for 2 days in June 2005 to (1) critically review the main findings of the NAS report and (2) define a research agenda that could fill research and data gaps and inform policy that reduces gun-related crime, deaths and injuries. This article summarizes the Collaborative’s conclusions and identifies priorities for research and funding.
- CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation
- NAS, National Academy of Sciences
- NIBRS, National Incident-Based Reporting System
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↵i NVRDS is a state-based monitoring system of all violent deaths. Since 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has funded 17 states to implement National Violent Death Reporting System.
↵ii NIBRS represents a modernization of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting summary system. Participating law enforcement agencies report data to the FBI on criminal incidents involving 46 specific offenses, with detailed information on the incident, victim(s), offender(s) and arrests. About 23 states, fully or partially, participate in NIBRS. Federal grant funds to help localities and states implement NIBRS have been unavailable since 2001.
↵iii The 2005 Consolidated Appropriation Act (PL 108–447) prohibited federal funds from being used “to disclose part or all of the contents of the Firearms Trace System database maintained by the National Trace Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives” except to law enforcement officials.
↵iv Guidelines state that the CDC will not fund “activities designed to affect the passage of specific Federal, State, or local legislation intended to restrict or control the purchase or use of firearms.”
↵v According to NIJ online statistics, it funded two grants in 2002, three each in 2003 and in 2004, which were devoted to research on firearms and violence.
Funding: This work was supported by the Joyce Foundation. The funder had no role in the writing of the report or the decision to submit the manuscript.
Competing interests: None.