Gun Violence

01.15.13

Let There Be Science in the Gun Debate

This January 15, 2013 photo taken in Washington, DC, shows a man playing the newly released National Rifle Association(NRA) iPhone/iPad app, 'NRA: Practice Range.' The new app was released January 14, by the nation's largest gun-industry lobby. The game gives users choices of several types of weapons and targets to shoot at, simulating firing at a gun range. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) ()

End the congressional ban upon studies of gun safety, urge 100 scientists from major universities.

While mortality rates from almost every major cause of death declined dramatically over the past half century, the homicide rate in America today is almost exactly the same as it was in 1950," the academics wrote in a letter organized by scholars at the University of Chicago Crime Lab research center.

"Politically-motivated constraints" left the nation "muddling through" a problem that costs American society on the order of $100 billion per year, it said. The federal Centers for Disease Control has cut firearms safety research by 96 percent since the mid-1990s, according to one estimate. Congress, pushed by the gun lobby, in 1996 put restrictions on CDC funding of gun research into the budget. Restrictions on other agencies were added in later years.

Just as a general rule: if you're the side shutting down scientific investigation, then you're the side that's in the wrong.