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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bloomberg View Again Pushing Myth of No Gun Research

The editors of BloombergView have once again trotted out the myth that the NRA has stymied gun related research over the last 20 years.
For two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been prohibited by Congress from using funds to “advocate or promote gun control.” (The National Institutes of Health faces a similar restriction.) Now there are signs the medical profession is getting fed up. In the April 7 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine is an editorial calling on physicians to demand the “resources and freedom” to do their jobs: reducing harm. Specifically, the journal calls for an end to the political blockade on research about the health effects of gun violence. 
I will give them credit for admitting the thesis of their article is not entirely true.
Not all research has been extinguished. Harvard, Johns Hopkins and the University of California at Davis are among the institutions that have produced notable studies in recent years. The National Institute of Justice has made limited forays into studying the criminal use of guns. But given the scope of the issue -- more than 30,000 firearm deaths and tens of thousands of injuries annually -- foundation grants and a bare trickle of government research can do only so much to advance understanding.
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, firearm related research has been as plentiful now as it was in the past.
There is no evidence that gun control research fell when restrictions were put on federally funded research. Indeed, whether one looks at the number of total articles or total pages, firearms research has been as high or higher than when the restrictions were enacted. In 2013, well before federal funding could have any impact on publications, there was an explosion in firearms research in medical journals.
As Dr. Lott has pointed out, there has been no ban on firearm related research, just a ban on using available funds for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to advocate or promote gun control.  If that prohibition is responsible for the CDC not doing firearm related research now, doesn't that lead us to the conclusion their past research was for advocacy purposes?

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