NEW YORK — Three-quarters of Americans believe that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should conduct research on the public health issue of gun violence, according to data presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

In total, 85% of Americans — including 76% of Republicans and 96% of Democrats — believe that Congress should do more to address mass shootings. A recent spending bill passed by Congress allows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on gun control and mass shooting violence; however, the bill provided no funding.

Those surveyed were split on whether lack of access to mental health services or easy access to assault-style weapons was more to blame for gun violence, with 1 in 5 Americans believing that the fault lies with healthcare access and 1 in 5 Americans blaming ease of access to assault-style firearms. Nearly half of those surveyed felt that both were equally to blame.

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Data were gathered from an APA-sponsored online poll and included a nationally representative sample of 2023 American adults. Data were collected between April 20 and 23, 2017, and March 22 and 25, 2018.

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“This poll reflects Americans’ overall concern about gun safety and presents a strong call to action to address gun violence as a public health issue,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, MD, MPA, in an APA press release. “[The] key to taking effective action to prevent gun violence will be better understanding the issues through research, which happens to be supported by most Americans.”


Americans Overwhelmingly See Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue: They Want Congress to Act and CDC to Conduct Research [news release]. New York City, NY: American Psychiatric Association. Published May 7, 2018. Accessed May 7, 2018.