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Gun policy requires accurate data
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Mark Taylor’s article “Firearms 101” (Feb. 1) was interesting and informative, right up to the last Q and A. The question, “Are gun bans, such as the Assault Weapons Ban, effective at reducing gun-related crimes?” would more accurately be answered: There’s no way to really know. And that’s on purpose.
The number of gun-related deaths in the U.S. is approaching the number of deaths from vehicle wrecks. Congress has authorized gazoodles of federal dollars for research through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the rate of traffic deaths and injury has decreased dramatically.
Yet government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are actively discouraged from researching gun injuries by a 1996 appropriations amendment placed by then-Rep. Jay Dickey. That legislation, backed by the National Rifle Association, cut $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget — the amount it had spent on firearms research the previous year.
It has effectively stopped government research ever since.
Intelligent gun policy can be derived only from accurate data about what actually works to reduce injury and deaths.
That’s one more reason to hope the NRA’s oppressive influence on Congress is waning.
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