Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Let's talk about guns, baby: Part 3

In a 1993 journal article that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine researchers found contradictory evidence to the claim that owning a gun makes you safer.  “Although firearms are often kept in homes for personal protection, this study shows that the practice is counter-productive. Our data indicate that keeping a gun in the home is independently associated with an increase in the risk of homicide in the home.”  The study was partially funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  In 1994, when Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, they began to attack the organizations that helped produce such controversial research.  In 1996, Rep. Jay Dickey cut $2.6 million from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which coincidentally, was how much they spent on gun violence research in the previous year.  The money was later given back by the Senate but marked for traumatic brain injury research, instead.  A statement was added to the law funding the CDC.  The statement read, “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.”  Researchers on both sides of the gun control debate have lamented this loss.  They have both publicly and privately, I’m sure, stated that the research that needs to be done on this issue needs to be done by the CDC.  Mayors Against Illegal Guns, spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg published a new article entitled “Access Denied.”  In this article, they found that the CDC’s budget is $5.6 billion.  Of that $5.6 billion, $100,000 is devoted to the subject.  When you’re broke like I am, $100,000 seems like a hell of a lot.  But as they point, the funding has dropped 96 percent, to reach this level.  Major public research funding for gun violence research is funded at $2 million.  In 2011, the National Institutes of Health dedicated $21 million to study headaches, as they point out.  Academic publishing has fallen 60% from 1996 to 2010. 

In 2003, Todd Tiahart inserted an amendment to the law funding the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives restricting its ability to release firearms trace data.  Also, the Tiahary Amendment bars the ATF from keeping track of this information electronically.  This forces them to use a paper-based filing system for records that stretch into the millions. 
The National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the Justice Department, funded 32 gun-related studies from 1993 and 1999.  They have not funded a single public study during the Obama administration.  The question you probably should be asking at this point is why?

No comments:

Post a Comment