Category Archives: Research/ data

End the Dickey Amendment: Tell Congress to Allow Research on Gun Violence

from Nation of Change

Not only will Congress not allow any new gun control measures to pass, or in some cases even be voted upon, but they are also working hard to keep anyone from doing any serious research on gun violence.

This month 49 people were murdered in an Orlando dance club. The number of mass shootings has increased dramatically over the last several years. This is the time for action.

The NRA owns Congress. In 1996 the NRA passed the Dickey Amendment, preventing the Center for Disease Control from studying the effect of gun violence on the American public. Now, 20 years later, even the author of the amendment, Congressman jay Dickey, believes it should be repealed.

Gun violence kills nearly 100 Americans every day. In the last year alone there were 372 mass shootings, killing 475 people. Yet Congress refuses to move forward on gun control legislation claiming that there is not enough evidence and not enough research to move forward.

Now the most powerful medical association in the United States has called gun violence a “public health crisis.” If the American Medical Association is calling for changes to gun control it is time we, and Congress, listen.

Sign the petition now and tell Congress to take the first step – repeal the Dickey Amendment and allow for more research on gun violence.

Change begins with you!

Share this petition and watch your influence expand.

The Shock of Ordinary Gun Violence

editorial, New York Times, MAY 26, 2016

Only in America: A computer algorithm about guns has been created to predict who is most likely to be shot soon, or to shoot someone.

The Chicago Police Department, desperate to reduce gun violence by street gangs, authorized this unusual tool three years ago and has been using it to track and caution the most likely offenders.

It is a remarkable state of affairs that local governments must resort to such an approach to deal with the reality of gun mayhem. Yet it is sadly understandable, too, as a timid Congress cowed by the gun lobby fails to enact stronger gun-control laws for a nation increasingly flooded with high-powered weapons.

As a rule, a public anesthetized by gun abuse tends to pay attention to the ubiquity of guns in this country when massacres seize the headlines, like the San Bernardino terrorist attack that left 14 dead, or the shooting of 20 schoolchildren in Connecticut. But the full problem is far more widespread, deadly and almost routine, according to a survey by a team of reporters from The Times reviewing a year of these multiple shootings.

Tracking 358 armed encounters last year in which four or more people were killed or wounded, including attackers, the team counted 462 dead and 1,330 wounded, some scarred for life….

read more at New York Times

At Least 90 Child Shootings in 2016

Everytown for Gun Safety, 5/12/16 (updated over time)

The U.S. has one of the highest reported rates of unintentional child gun deaths in the world. And Everytown research indicates that the number of incidents involving death and injury are significantly underreported.

These aren’t accidents. They’re preventable. More than two-thirds of these tragedies could be avoided if gun owners stored their guns responsibly and prevented children from accessing them. (Read our June 2014 report, Innocents Lost: A Year of Unintentional Child Gun Deaths.)

Are looser gun laws changing the social fabric of Missouri?

by Jonathan M. Metzl, The Conversation, 3/10/16

Missouri is poised to become the latest state to allow guns into college classrooms.

The Republican-led state senate is currently finalizing deliberations on a bill that, if passed, would remove restrictions on carrying concealed weapons on college campuses statewide.

The specter of loaded firearms in college classrooms raises particular concerns in no small part because the dynamics of learning often depend on professors challenging students to step beyond their comfort zones.

But beneath these concerns lies a broader question: do guns change the ways that people engage with each other?

Scholars who research guns and gun violence, myself included, often track the impact of guns through homicide and injury rates. But the impact of guns on everyday interactions, and instances when guns are neither drawn nor discharged, remains a largely unstudied topic….

read more atThe Conversation

Note especially that researchers “found that the state’s 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase handgun law “was associated with a 25 percent increase in firearm homicides rates.” Between 2008 and 2014 the Missouri gun homicide rate rose to 47 percent higher than the national average.”

And also: “In Missouri there are now virtually no remaining laws governing gun safety or storage. And the state now leads the nation in accidental shootings by toddlers – instances where young children find unlocked guns and accidentally discharge them.”

Why Is It Illegal to Research the Impact of Gun Control on Public Health?

By Thom Hartmann, AlterNet, December 29, 2015

The US is in the midst of a full-blown public health crisis.

Around 88 people every day – more than 32,000 people every year – are dying from a totally preventable cause.

This totally preventable cause, by the way, just isn’t a problem in most other developed nations.

They’ve either eliminated it altogether or responded to previous outbreaks in such a way as to make future ones rarer and much less deadly than the ones we have here.

I’m talking, of course, about gun violence.

Yes, that’s right, gun violence.

It’s not something that most people think about when they think about the biggest public health crises in the US – they usually think of cancer, heart disease or drug addiction – but that’s exactly what gun violence is: a public health crisis….

read more at AlterNet

What the CDC Could Learn About Gun Violence If the NRA Allowed It to Research the Subject

By Jesse Singal, Science of Us, New York magazine, 12/23/15

If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to better understand how seat belts help save lives on the road, or the rate at which drug-poisoning deaths kill Americans, or how lead in toys can threaten kids’ health, it’s very well-positioned to do so. After all, the CDC has the broad, vital mandate of “protect[ing] America from health, safety and security threats,” and it’s got an annual budget of $7 billion to work with. It doesn’t just study diseases — it studies any and all threats to human life and health.

But when it comes to what is, statistically, one of the most important public-health threats in the country — guns — this powerful institution is effectively impotent. That’s because the NRA decided that the CDC shouldn’t be allowed to fund gun research, and successfully bullied Congress into codifying this sentiment into law. The American Psychological Association recounts the story: In 1996 the NRA, furious about a 1993 New England Journal of Medicine article on the risks of gun ownership, successfully pushed for the passage of a budget amendment that yanked $2.6 million from the CDC — exactly what it had been spending on gun research — and banned the agency from disbursing any funds toward research that could be construed as supporting gun control. …

Read more and follow many links at Science of Us

How many guns are in America? A web of state secrecy means no one knows

by Jessica Glenza, The Guardian, 10/17/15

A majority of states actively restrict access to information on gun permits, the FBI must destroy background checks and Congress bans funding for research

The American Public Health Association will join the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in a national summit in Washington DC to tackle gun violence. They describe the issue as “one of the biggest public health issues facing America”.

But you wouldn’t know it from looking at the state of gun research.

Ask one of the dozen or so active firearms researchers in the United States, and they won’t be able to answer the fundamental question: how many guns are in America?

In addition to a 1996 ban on federal funding for firearms research that is cited as one of the most onerous obstacles to treating gun violence as a public health issue, states have passed dozens of laws in just the past five years that make once-public data on gun ownership confidential.

The best available data comes from a private survey by the University of Chicago, not the federal government, and that is still an estimate, finding that 79 million US households have guns. Other surveys have estimated there are between 270 and 310m guns.

“There are lots of holes in actually having any data on the number of guns in our communities,” said Fred Rivara, head of pediatrics at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital…

read more at The Guardian