Wednesday, January 26, 2011

N.R.A. Stymies Firearms Research, Scientists Say

In the wake of the shootings in Tucson, the familiar questions inevitably resurfaced: Are communities where more people carry guns safer or less safe? Does the availability of high-capacity magazines increase deaths? Do more rigorous background checks make a difference?

The reality is that even these and other basic questions cannot be fully answered, because not enough research has been done. And there is a reason for that. Scientists in the field and former officials with the government agency that used to finance the great bulk of this research say the influence of the National Rife Association has all but choked off money for such work.

“We’ve been stopped from answering the basic questions,” said Mark Rosenberg, former director of the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was for about a decade the leading source of financing for firearms research.

Chris Cox, the N.R.A.’s chief lobbyist, said his group had not tried to squelch genuine scientific inquiries, just politically slanted ones.

“Our concern is not with legitimate medical science,” Mr. Cox said. “Our concern is they were promoting the idea that gun ownership was a disease that needed to be eradicated.”

The amount of money available today for studying the impact of firearms is a fraction of what it was in the mid-1990s, and the number of scientists toiling in the field has dwindled to just a handful as a result, researchers say.
Read the rest here.


August said...

Weird. I thought the association between gun ownership and lower crime rates was established science.
Either I'm wrong, or there are selfish people out there who want to get grants and are willing to justify bad behavior on the part of the government in order to get it.
Hmm, I wonder what the truth could be? Is the world warming up due to human behavior and could the government be justified in forcibly altering that behavior, or is that just a big lie? Is keynesianism the only logical economic position, or do economists who want to work for the government turn into keynesians because that's the model that justifies their employer's behavior?
There are so many examples.
Meanwhile, I think the NRA is pretty tame. They like their cushy jobs in D.C. too, so, much like the professional anti-abortion people, I wonder if they are actually committed to making themselves obsolete, or if they just want to continue to be well paid dancers in a very long and unsatisfying (for us) tango.

Visibilium said...

The ILA earns its keep. I'm satisfied with the NRA's position. I fail to see why government-funded studies would be so important other than to abridge my rights. Making this a medical issue reminds me of the medical community's attempt to get children during routine physical exams to narc on their parents about keeping guns in the home.