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Sarbanes: Lift gun research ban

Alexandra Sowa’s commentary, “Treat gun violence like the public health epidemic it is and lift research ban” (Feb. 22), is absolutely right to call for more scientific analysis and research on gun violence.This public health epidemic — which claims the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every single year — deserves the same kind of serious, rigorous and comprehensive study afforded to any other public health crisis.

For this reason, I recently pressed U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to direct his agency to conduct serious research on gun violence and public safety. I also joined all House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats in demanding that Chairman Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, hold a hearing on gun violence prevention research as soon as possible.

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It's not enough to send thoughts and prayers to the grieving families of gun violence. As members of Congress, we should be sending them laws that create evidence-based, commonsense gun safety measures to reduce firearm deaths and injuries in our country.

For too long, the gun lobby has profited handsomely at the expense of public health. It’s time to end this dangerous trend. Let’s do the prevention research, end the epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and our communities safer.

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John Sarbanes, Towson

The writer, a Democrat, represents Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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