My article Never a Magic Bullet: The Personal and Public Dimensions of Gun Ownership and Gun Violence is appearing in the March/April edition of the Humanist. Much of the article is an appeal for rational, civil discourse on the subject, but I did have one dimension where I have a strong opinion. Not surprisingly, it has to do with scientific integrity:
In 1996, Congress stripped the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of funding for research that “may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” In 2010 the NRA successfully lobbied to have restrictions placed on the ability of doctors to gather data about patient gun use into the Affordable Health Care for America Act. In 2012 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was prohibited from spending money “to advocate or promote gun control.” Most egregiously, a 2011 bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Rick Scott made it illegal for doctors in the state to ask patients if they own guns, preventing even pediatricians from asking parents if their guns are stored safely away from children.
The Humanist website doesn’t link to sources, so I thought I would post my references here in the interest of transparency and for anyone seeking deeper information on anything:
- Details of the Sany Hook shooting: Wikipedia.org (2013), Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting.
- List of recent mass shootings: Adams, Becket (2012), The List of the Deadliest U.S. Shootings – and Where This Latest One Now Ranks, TheBlaze.com.
- 40 and 47 percent of households have a gun: Saad, Lydia (2011), Self-Reported Gun Ownership in U.S. Is Highest Since 1993, Gallup Politics.
- FBI: 2011 728 murders due to beats VS 8,583 due to firearms: Block, Melissa (2013), NRA Head: Registry Of Gun Owners Would Be Very Dangerous, NPR.org.
- Mexico firearms murder rate: “2011 Global Study on Homicide”. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- NRA pushed to prevent doctors from gathering data about patient gun use in Affordable Health Care Act: Wallsten, Peter and Hamburger, Tom (2012), NRA fingerprints in landmark health-care law, Washington Post.
- Harvard Injury Control Research Center: Firearms Research.
- CDC on effectiveness of the Assault Weapons Ban: First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws, CDC, 3 Oct 2003.
- Congress stripped CDC of funding for research on gun-related injuries: Don Kates, Henry E. Schaffer & William B. Waters IV (1997), Public Health Pot Shots: How the CDC succumbed to the Gun “Epidemic”, Reason, April 1997.
- NIH Spending restrictions: National Institutes of Health (2012), Notice of Legislative Mandates in Effect for FY2012.
- Rick Scott Florida doctore/gun bill: Allen, Gret (2011), Florida Bill Could Muzzle Doctors On Gun Safety, NPR.org.
- PubMed “gun violence” (in quotes) search results.
- Violent Crime Trends: Bureau of Justic Statistics (2012), Key Facts At A Glance: Violent crime trends.