LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Gun Violence 'A Public Health Crisis,' Says AMA

Personnel examine a body at the medical examiner's office on Sunday in Orlando, Fla. A gunman opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub early Sunday, before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said.

Days after the deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., the American Medical Association says it is adopting a policy calling gun violence in the U.S. "a public health crisis" and it says it will actively lobby Congress to overturn 20-year-old legislation blocking research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries," AMA President Steven J. Sack said in a statement.

The AMA, the largest physicians group in the U.S., says it has supported gun control since the 1980s, and as recently as 2013, the association called the uncontrolled ownership and use of firearms "a serious threat to public health" because "the weapons are one of the main causes of intentional and unintentional injuries and deaths."

The history of the ban on federal research on gun violence goes back to 1996 when the National Rifle Association lobbied Congress to prevent any gun research that could be interpreted as endorsing gun control. But the author of that legislation, then-Rep. Jay Dickey, R-Ark., told NPR in October he regrets that his law has had a broader effect.

"[It] wasn't necessary that all research stop. It just couldn't be the collection of data so that they can advocate gun control. That's all we were talking about. But for some reason, it just stopped altogether."

In 2013 President Obama ordered the CDC to resume research "assessing the causes of gun violence ... subject to the availability of appropriations." A spokesman told the Washington Post last year that "our resources are very limited," and the agency had taken no action.

The AMA isn't the only major medical association to call for federally funded gun research. The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a recent policy statement, said the legislation has had "a chilling effect and resulted in a dearth of research on this critical topic."

In 2012, as NPR's Shots blog noted, the AAP called for regulating the manufacture, sale, purchase, ownership and use of firearms to help prevent gun-related injuries to children and adolescents.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)