Don’t Be Pessimistic About Changing Gun Laws -DEMAND research
The knowledge we have to make informed policy decisions is less than adequate in large part because the gun lobby has intentionally and successfully damaged efforts to carry out the appropriate research, with the full complicity of elected members of congress. Here’s Maggie’s post: Gun lobby has opposed research on effects of gun ownership/gun laws.
The Centers for Disease Control funds research into the causes of death in the United States, including firearms — or at least it used to. In 1996, after various studies funded by the agency found that guns can be dangerous, the gun lobby mobilized to punish the agency. First, Republicans tried to eliminate entirely the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the bureau responsible for the research. When that failed, Rep. Jay Dickey, a Republican from Arkansas, successfully pushed through an amendment that stripped $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget (the amount it had spent on gun research in the previous year) and outlawed research on gun control with a provision that reads: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
Dr. Arthur Kellermann, a prominent researcher whose 1993 CDC-funded study became a flashpoint in the debate over government funding of gun research, told Salon that the effects of the campaign against gun research have real consequences. “In a nation dedicated to personal freedom and responsibility, it is ironic that policymakers and the public have been denied access to timely and objective research on this issue for 15 years and counting,” he said in an email.
Once again, we can argue and argue, but the bottom line is we cannot make effective policy without accurate data.