We Won’t Know the Cause of Gun Violence Until We Look for It

From 1986 to 1996, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sponsored high-quality, peer-reviewed research into the underlying causes of gun violence. People who kept guns in their homes did not — despite their hopes — gain protection, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Instead, residents in homes with a gun faced a 2.7-fold greater risk of homicide and a 4.8-fold greater risk of suicide. The National Rifle Association moved to suppress the dissemination of these results and to block funding of future government research into the causes of firearm injuries.

One of us served as the NRA’s point person in Congress and submitted an amendment to an appropriations bill that removed $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget, the amount the agency’s injury center had spent on firearms-related research the previous year. This amendment, together with a stipulation that “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,” sent a chilling message.

Read the rest of the commentary here.

Print Print  

One comment to “We Won’t Know the Cause of Gun Violence Until We Look for It”

  1. Scott Hermann

    “The National Rifle Association moved to suppress the dissemination”

    Kellermann’s work is widely known though often misquoted. I do appreciate that you offered his revised number of 2.7x, rather then his original invented number of 40x. Ironic don’t you think how a number can drop so dramatically when the actual data is requested for peer review? Incidentally, 2.7x is the same risk factor as dying from asthma according to the NCBI.

    “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,” sent a chilling message.

    In other words, you’re upset that biased research aimed at policy advocacy was halted. Unbiased research would no doubt be welcome, but that would take looking at gun ownership from a cost/benefit analysis (lives saved vs lost, property damaged vs destroyed, hospital bills incurred vs avoided). If the CDC isn’t interested in honest research regarding gun ownership, then it ought to pursue outside sources rather than using taxpayer funds.

    Fortunately there are plenty of other agencies like the FBI more interested in tabulating unbiased facts rather than advocating policy.

Leave a comment