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Californian social workers call for gun death research ban to be lifted

In wake of the Thousand Oaks massacre, it's time to treat such shootings as a public health problem says social work association...

12 November 2018

Social workers in California have called for a law preventing federal funding for research into gun violence in the US to be repealed in wake of the Thousand Oaks shootings.

The ‘Dickey Amendment’ was passed in 1996 after lobbying by the National Rifle Association and effectively prevents gun deaths from being treated as a public health problem.

However, following the latest gun massacre, the Californian chapter of the National Association of Social Workers said it was time to change the law.

Ex-marine Ian Long killed 12 people including a policeman in a Californian bar before shooting himself dead last week.

Rebecca Gonzales, director of government relations and political affairs with NASW in California, said: "We really need more research to find out why this happens.

“We need to figure out how we can stop these terrible shootings. We have to figure out how to more appropriately identify who really is at risk of this kind of violence.”

With a shocking 307 mass shootings in the US so far this year, pressure is mounting to repeal the Dicky Amendment, a provision sponsored by the late Arkansas congressman Jay Dickey.

Pro-gun lobbyists claim research into gun deaths is politically motivated and should not be publicly funded.

However, more than 100 medical organisations have now signed a letter to Congress asking for the amendment to be lifted.

Gonzales also called for more public awareness around gun violence. There are 30,000 gun deaths a year in America. More than half are suicides.