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AAA Grieves for Victims in Las Vegas
Calls for Congress to recommit to gun violence research
Today, we share our deepest condolences with the families and friends of those who lost their lives in last night’s grotesque and senseless mass shooting in Las Vegas. Once again, we woke up to the all-too-familiar news of gun violence and asked ourselves the same question we have asked all too often: what is it going to take to stop this mayhem?
By now, most should be familiar with the fact that 92 people are killed by firearms on an average day in America, a flood of deaths in the US each year that rivals the number of deaths from traffic accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Japan, and in the UK as well as elsewhere in Western Europe, you are considerably more likely to be struck by lightning than to be killed by a gun.
Today, we recognize that plenty of people everywhere have issues with anger management, macho crises, impulse control, or more severe mental health problems. But if the most lethal weapon they have at hand is not a firearm, acting out has far less harmful consequences.
In the face of the unabated torrent of shootings in the US, we call on our colleagues to examine the ways in which our research can contribute to eliminating the health and safety menace posed by firearms. We also call on the US Congress to lift restrictions that prevent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting gun violence research and maintaining comprehensive gun violence data. These restrictions obstruct the development and implementation of evidence-based policies and programs that foster gun safety.
We have issued far too many statements in recent years, on Sandy Hook, on Orlando, on Charleston, on campus carry laws, to name just a few. Yes, today we will grieve, but let us turn our energy to research, teaching, and action that will lead to evidence-based policy improvements, more effectively diagnosing and treating mental illness, and saving lives.
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Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association, with 10,000 members, is the world’s largest scholarly and professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.