A nationwide coalition of more than 1,200 leaders in science and health, including more than 450 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, has submitted a letter urging the United States Senate to rapidly pass legislation advancing evidence-based approaches to reduce the toll of gun violence in America. The coalition, with Jody Heymann of the Fielding School of Public Health and UCLA Luskin Public Policy serving as lead author, calls for reforms in four key policy areas:
- prohibiting people who have committed violent crimes or have domestic violence restraining orders from purchasing firearms;
- adopting child access prevention and safe gun storage laws, which studies show would reduce gun suicides and unintentional gun deaths among children and youths;
- requiring firearm licensing and training requirements, especially for people obtaining guns for the first time;
- taking action on large-capacity magazines as a way to significantly lower deaths in mass shootings.
Among the letter’s signatories are researchers from every region of the country, including college presidents and university deans. The health and science leaders also commend the recent bipartisan deal in Congress on a set of reforms that would begin to make progress in some areas. Heymann is a distinguished professor of health policy and management, public policy, and medicine and a former dean at the Fielding School. “Each of these recommendations has been studied through research comparing the experiences of states with and without certain laws over time—and the evidence is clear they work,” she said.