10 comments to “California Leaps into Crossfire on Gun Control With Push for Firearm Research Center”

  1. Gun Safe

    A firearm research center is a good idea though, I hope this initiative will see the light of the day

  2. kno1uknow

    I can save you researchers 5 million dollars. Just look at Chicago, Illinois. They banned guns, and have the highest gun violence, and murders in the nation. How obvious is that? Or, is it the water most are drinking?

  3. My Gun Safe Guide

    WE should use our guns safety! Thank for the article!

  4. Matthew Mabey

    Some of the research questions posed in the article are rather problematic. Despite all the headlines, mass shootings, school shootings, or shootings where armed, law-abiding citizens are also present are all very rare events. Thus, researching the effectiveness of such prevention measures (especially in the current political environment) will be very difficult, regardless of funding.
    Of the deaths due to firearms, suicides are 63%. Given that only roughly half of suicides are by firearm, I think it is reasonable to assume that most would find another means if a firearm were not available. This is certainly worth researching, but I suspect that it isn’t covered by the ban on federal funds.
    Accidental shootings are a very small fraction (1.5%) and we as a society have been making steady progress in improving safety in this area, very similar to progress that is occurring with automobiles.
    Alcohol not only gets credit for killing people directly. It is also unquestionably a factor in motor vehicle deaths (that are tracked to some degree). Alcohol almost certainly contributes to firearm suicides, firearm homicides, and firearm accidental deaths. Does the ban on federal funds cover research into indirect alcohol-induced mortality? I’m guessing that it does not.
    That brings us down to the 11,208 annual firearm homicides. Some of these likely involve alcohol as mentioned above. Is research into gang violence covered by the federal funds ban? Apparently not, since the CDC did a study on gang violence that is the subject of a news release on their website (http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0126_gang_homicides.html). So how many of those 11,208 homicides were gang-on-gang homicides, or otherwise criminal-on-criminal homicides. An answer could certainly be found through federally funded research on gang violence, or criminal violence. The one estimate I did find, ~2000, was based on methodology that quite likely produces an undercount in comparison the to data source for the total number of firearm homicides. It would seem that 20 to 40% of firearm homicides are likely bad guys killing other bad guys and fully permitted research could refine and add understanding to those numbers. Of the remaining homicides, a very disproportionate share are from the bottom 1/4 of the economic spectrum. This social dimension opens the door to studying the causes and impacts of poverty with fully permitted federal funding.
    My point in all this is that most of the broad issue of firearm deaths can be studied and better understood under the current rules. When the other commenters assert that this might really be about funding to promote a specific, predetermined policy position, I think they have a pretty good case. There is lots of interesting (if difficult) research to be done. But the vast majority of it can readily be done, with federal funds, under the existing rules. There will always be more research ideas than there are research dollars.

  5. Matthew Mabey

    One should never lose sight of the fact that there is a great deal of valuable, high-quality research accomplished in the US without using federal research funds. Precluding federal dollars for research in any one area of inquiry should never be confused with a ban on research in that area. It is true that much of the research establishment in the US is very dependent on federal funding, but it neither is, nor should be, the sole source of research funding.

  6. William Ashman

    Two points that need to me made:
    1. People can be dangerous. Some never. Some at a stressful point in their lives. Some all the time. Put a gun in their hands and you have trouble. Put a gun that shoots many rounds of bullets in their hand and you have REAL trouble!
    2. There are way too many deaths due to gun violence in this country. No one has the right to ban any research that can help this situation. That should be included in the Constitution under “Freedom of Speech”.

  7. Mark Smith

    MORE EVIDENCE. Wintemute adopts a pose of neutrality, but he has funded his own gun control advocacy with his family foundation’s money, more than $1 million.


  8. Mark Smith

    In 1994 Congress took testimony from both sides of the gun debate. Based on the evidence, Congress voted to permanently un-fund the CDC’s gun banners after extensive Congressional testimony showing how the CDC had used junk science to promote their political agenda. Here are two peer-reviewed articles pivotal in the Congressional judgment that summarized fallacies in the CDC’s work, the same danger in California’s feigned neutrality:

    Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence or Pandemic of Propaganda?
    Don B. Kates, Henry E. Schaffer, Ph.D., John K. Lattimer, M.D., George B.Murray, M.D., AND Edwin H. Cassem, M.D. 61 TENN. L. REV. 513-596 (1994).

    Guns in the Medical Literature — A Failure of Peer Review
    Edgar A Suter, M.D., Journal Of The Medical Association Of Georgia, March 1994, 83(13).

    Wolk’s flawed guns and automobile analogy was putto rest 20 years ago: “The selectivity of the [automobile and guns] analogy is further apparent when we recognize that licensing and registration of automobiles is necessary only on public roads. No license or registration is required to own and operate a motor vehicle of any kind on private property. The advocates of the automobile model of gun ownership would be forced by their own logic to accept use of any kind of firearm on private property without license or registration. Since any state’s automobile and driver license is valid in every state, further extension of the analogy suggests that the licensing of guns and gun owners would allow citizens to “own and operate” firearms in every US jurisdiction. A national concealed firearms license valid throughout this nation would be a significant enhancement of self-protection, a deterrent to violent crime, and a compromise quite enticing to many gun owners.”

  9. Guest Guest

    Refer to comment above and ditto.

  10. Guy Smith

    Gun control policy is one of the most ridiculously over-studied topics in the world. You could spend the better part of a year just on the Bureau of Justice Statistics web site reviewing the studies and raw data. This doesn’t even touch peer-reviewed criminology papers, entire books on the subject written by both criminologists and economists, as well as international reviews of compatible datasets.

    Now, compare public critiques of Garen Wintemute’s work on the topic and how well it dove-tails into pro-gun-control ideology, and you see this is not an attempt to fill some mythical gap in knowledge, but to manufacture content to push one viewpoint.

    Of all the things California should not spend money on (aside from the bullet train) is to add poor-grade effluvium atop the existing mountain of respected research by actual criminologists, not doctors committing criminology malpractice.

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