offers hope for the reduction of firearm morbidity and mortality and that many disciplines have important contributions to make. The strength of integrating work from varied disciplines is evident when the multidisciplinary approach is tried (OJJDP, 1996; Rand, 1997). Research by criminologists is needed to explain the economic, sociocultural, and psychological factors that affect the firearm-related criminal behavior of youths. Research by economists is needed to understand the flow of firearms in and between licit and illicit markets. Epidemiologic research is needed to clarify risks and risk factors and to explore the causal sequences of firearm injury. Biomechanical and clinical research is needed to explicate the acute and chronic effects of gunshot injuries. Mental health and substance abuse researchers can contribute to an understanding of the behavioral and biologic contributors to violence.
Multidisciplinary collaboration on violence research has begun to emerge. Examples include the interdisciplinary Homicide Research Working Group, based in the American Society for Criminology, and the National Consortium on Violence Research. The committee believes that sustained advances in applied research bearing on prevention of firearm violence and other firearm injuries requires such collaborative efforts, including criminologists, economists, psychologists, bioengineers, epidemiologists, and clinicians, working within the comprehensive model of prevention that now shapes research on highway safety.
The federal government is involved in a growing number of criminal justice efforts to stem juvenile gun crime, and there are a number of local and private-sector initiatives to this end (OJJDP, 1996). However, there is no federal program, similar to NHTSA's Section 402 program, that would fund firearm injury prevention efforts in each state. Further, the federal government has not used federal revenue streams as leverage for the adoption of firearm injury prevention measures as it has for prevention of motor vehicle injuries.
There are opportunities for encouraging states to improve data systems and implement programs with the goal of reducing firearm injuries. Congress should consider a two-step strategy for encouraging state and local governments to implement and evaluate strategies and programs for reducing firearm injuries, especially involving children and adolescents. First, program funds should be made available to support well-designed state or local program initiatives—encompassing the full range of interventions, including legislation—conditioned upon sound evaluation. Second, when specific programs and legislative approaches have been shown to reduce firearm injuries, Congress should make crime prevention funding through the Office of Justice Programs contingent upon the adoption and implementation of these successful approaches.