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AAA Pushes for Comprehensive Evidence-Based Approach to Prevent Gun Violence

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February 22, 2018

Contact Name: Jeff Martin

AAA Pushes for Comprehensive Evidence-Based Approach to Prevent Gun Violence

Another school shooting. More children dead, more families shattered, more communities wondering if their schools and their children are next, and more questions left unanswered.

Since 2000, there have been school shootings in 43 of the 50 states, according to the Washington Post. The shootings have taken place at a rate of about one a month, and left about 250 students and teachers dead.

Nor is the carnage limited to schools. According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, already in 2018 a total of 30 mass shooting incidents have occurred as of February 14—Valentine’s Day-- including Wednesday's school shooting in Florida. In 2017, the U.S. saw a total of 346 mass shootings (the Archive describes a mass shooting as four or more individuals being shot or killed in the same general time and location).

While the results of gun violence flash endlessly across our televisions and news feeds, we know far less about the topic than we should. That’s because of 20-year-old restrictions on publicly funded research into gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and a failure to authorize a truly national “National Violent Death Reporting System,” which currently covers only 40 states.

There’s little hope of building a bipartisan response to the growing epidemic of gun violence if we refuse to acknowledge it. To truly understand gun violence in America, we need to lift restrictions that prevent the CDC from studying the topic, and authorize a comprehensive reporting system so that we better understand its prevalence, its causes, and its remedies.

“This isn’t just a matter of needing rigorous scholarship to inform a public debate on the issue,” said AAA President Alex Barker. “It’s a matter of life and death.”

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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.

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