Wednesday, June 5, 2013

IOM Issues Guidelines for Research on Gun Violence

The Institute of Medicine today released a report identifying research priorities for studies of ways to reduce the threat of firearm-related violence. The report came in response to President Obama’s executive orders to federal agencies following a number of mass-shooting incidents to better understand the causes of firearm violence, possible preventive measures, and ways to reduce the public health burden of such violence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested the report, which suggested several areas for investigation:
  • Characterizing gun ownership and use in the U.S.
  • Identifying risk and protective factors concerning gun possession and use, especially as they apply to young people;
  • Investigating interventions that might reduce access to firearms by high-risk individuals and thus prevent violence;
  • Looking at technological approaches to gun safety; and
  • Examining the possible association between media violence and real-life violence.

The report raises questions about individuals with mental illness twice in the context of preventive measures, calling for research into the public-health effects of banning firearm sales to people with “specific psychiatric illnesses” and of removing guns from those “who develop a disqualifying characteristic, for example, mental illness, with a potential for violence.”

To read more about issues surrounding firearms and mental illness, see Psychiatric News and the American Journal of Psychiatry.

(Image: Vladimir Koletic/


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