Funding Restrictions Have Made Gun Violence Researchers Get Creative
A study published Thursday concludes that a subsequent increase in gun exposure led to more accidental firearm deaths than otherwise would have occurred in the months after the school shooting.
“It was the spike [in sales] itself that sort of drove us to initiate this project,” says Phillip Levine, a professor of economics at Wellesley College and author of the study that appears in the journal Science. “It just led us to ask the question, ‘Given that many new guns being added to society, what impact does that have?’ “
The answer may seem obvious. But restrictions on funding have left gaping holes in U.S. gun safety research. “Although the evidence that firearm ownership and access to firearms is associated with health risks is fairly strong, the estimates very widely,” says David Studdert, a professor at Stanford University who studies trends in gun violence and who wasn’t involved in the new study.
“There’s clearly a strong relationship with firearm-related suicide,” he adds. “Some studies show a relationship with firearm-related homicide. But we need better evidence.”