Principle 5: Barriers to Research
The fifth principle of the policy is that political and fiscal barriers to the research needed for a comprehensive public health approach to preventing and responding to gun violence should be eliminated. Sound policy and practice incorporate sound science. We need more research relevant to developing effective ways to prevent harms related to firearms. Some policies have precluded the collection and use of information that would inform policies and practices intended to reduce firearm violence.
The policy supports lifting legislative and administrative barriers to the collection and maintenance of data pertaining to the acquisition, distribution, and use of firearms in a manner that safeguards the privacy of individuals, and supports the removal of federal restrictions on the funding of gun violence research. The policy urges that policies, programs and practices regarding harms arising from firearms should rely upon existing empirically based and “best practices” models whenever possible, and that current and future innovative programs receive support conditioned upon plans for rigorous outcome evaluation. Innovative strategies should not be broadly implemented or institutionalized unless shown to be efficacious in smaller pilot studies or trial implementation. The policy encourages graduate psychology training programs to expand their training in research methods and program evaluation techniques. The policy supports increased funding for implementation of the National Violence Death Reporting System in all states.
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