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Tuesday’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which killed at least 19 children, serves as a harrowing reminder that firearms will become the leading cause of death for young Americans in 2020, and researchers have cited Congress’s 1996 The decision suggested—at the urging of the National Rifle Association—to halt spending for research focused on prevention and solutions, which hampered efforts to address the issue for decades.

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In 2020, firearm-related deaths overtook motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death for Americans aged 1 to 19, according For the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data analyzed in a research paper published in New England Journal Medicine last month.

In 2017, gun-related deaths became the leading cause of death for all Americans regardless of age, and have since widened the gap between the two, according to another. paper Posted in New England Journal Medicine in April.

The paper’s authors argue that a trend toward a decline in motor vehicle deaths and an increase in firearms-related deaths can be traced to the so-called dickey revisionA 1996 provision in a congressional spending bill introduced by then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark) and supported by the NRA that halted federal funding for gun violence research.

The Dickey Amendment gave a nearly 25-year break in federal funding for this research. only broken After MPs in 2020 Accepted The $25 million in funding for the CDC and the National Institutes of Health to study the issue comes after growing calls to unblock the ban.

While federally funded research successfully led to safety campaigns aimed at reducing motor vehicle deaths, no such research was funded to prevent or solve gun violence from 1996 to 2020.

David Hemenway, director of Harvard University’s Injury Control Research Center and one of the paper’s authors, told Forbes The complete lack of “good data” caused by the Dickey Amendment in a phone interview made it more challenging to delineate gun violence, although referring to Tuesday’s mass shooting “to prevent this one particular killing” No research can be guaranteed.

Even today, federal funding is not “commensurate with the size of the problem” of firearms-related deaths, Hemenway said, calling for a “better harm reduction approach” because “we are dying like crazy” due to guns. .