“Research restrictions pushed by the National Rifle Association have stopped the United States from finding solutions to firearms violence, more than a hundred scientists from virtually every major U.S. university told Vice President Joe Biden’s task force on gun violence in a letter on Thursday…
“While mortality rates from almost every major cause of death declined dramatically over the past half century, the homicide rate in America today is almost exactly the same as it was in 1950,” the academics wrote in a letter organized by scholars at the University of Chicago Crime Lab research center.
“Politically-motivated constraints” left the nation “muddling through” a problem that costs American society on the order of $100 billion per year, it said.
The federal Centers for Disease Control has cut firearms safety research by 96 percent since the mid-1990s, according to one estimate. Congress, pushed by the gun lobby, in 1996 put restrictions on CDC funding of gun research into the budget. Restrictions on other agencies were added in later years.
The NRA, the main lobbyist for gun rights, has taken credit for the research halt. “These junk science studies and others like them are designed to provide ammunition for the gun control lobby by advancing the false notion that legal gun ownership is a danger to the public health instead of an inalienable right,” it said in 2011.
Research into links between teenagers’ use of guns and alcohol, and firearm storage practices, were examples the gun rights group cited, arguing that the studies were meant to show gun ownership was a “disease.”