Is Everyone Too Afraid to Conduct Real Research into the Causes of Gun Violence?

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Even though the Obama administration ordered the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research into the causes of gun violence after the Newtown shooting, the organization has “fear” of proceeding, states an article in The Washington Post. The CDC and many other researchers are worried about the political consequences from the gun lobby, the article states, if they should find that the main problem is simply lack of gun control.

“The CDC had not touched firearm research since 1996 — when the NRA accused the agency of promoting gun control and Congress threatened to strip the agency’s funding,” the Post reports. “The CDC’s self-imposed ban dried up a powerful funding source and had a chilling effect felt far beyond the agency: Almost no one wanted to pay for gun violence studies, researchers say. Young academics were warned that joining the field was a good way to kill their careers. And the odd gun study that got published went through linguistic gymnastics to hide any connection to firearms.”

Why the CDC still isn’t researching gun violence, despite the ban being lifted two years ago (The Washington Post, January 14, 2015)

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe because the findings will conclude that it is an individuals problem and the gun is only one of the tools used for violence. Also, try finding an unbiased researcher in today’s World, most are getting paid for the agenda they promote, the truth is getting harder to find…….

  2. Is violence a “disease”? Using the more liberal definitions, I think not. Is Gun Violence a real issue? I happen to own several guns. None of which have ever perpetrated a violent act on someone or themselves for that matter.

    If however you take away all the political trappings, rants and “politically correct fads” of the moment, you will begin to see some pretty interesting commonalities with those who use weapons (gun) to perpetrate crimes. Many have diagnosed mental health problems. Many have long histories of violent behaviors that have never ever been addresses. Many in fact grew up in violent and fearful environments. One of the things that I can tell you without reservation is, an individual who is determined to do harm, will do harm regardless of the weapon or instrument used. Take his gun away, he will use a knife, bat, explosive, automobile, poison etc, or any other thing he can come up with. I have seen each of these weapons used to inflict injury and in some cases death. The issue is not the weapon of choice, I believe it stems from a lack of basic simple human discipline, along not being taught how to manage conflicts and anger. But then, who is responsible for teaching these disciplines and management skills? IMHO.

    • I would like to see some studies, if they can be done in an unbiased manner. Many parts of the country are loosening gun laws. Does the public really know how to manage them? In recent weeks we’ve had an infants reach into his mother’s purse and shoot and kill his mother, we’ve had an assault when someone was seen entering a store with a legal concealed weapon, we’ve had an armed robbery of a gun store where there was a gunfight and the owner was killed, and we’ve had a brazen robbery where a couple of criminals stole assault rifles from a gun store. We’ve had people attempting to stop a crime with a gun only to be summarily shot by the criminal (AZ and Las Vegas last year). Someone brought his gun to a movie theater, got into an argument and shot someone. The list goes on.

      In addition, there is now some question as to the connection between mental illness and gun violence. I don’t know what is really the case anymore. I personally know of two cases where a husband shot his wife, I would not know if they had a history of mental illness, but it is conceivable to me that they did not have that history – they simply snapped under the strain of a marital issue and used their gun.

      I agree with one thing you said – not being taught on how to manage conflicts and anger.

      I would like to see a study tackle a few questions.
      a. What is the expected protocol for gun ownership, and carrying of guns? Should training be required as a standard?
      b. Anger and conflict mgmt.
      c. Should we promote things like Smart Guns?

      And some others.

  3. CDC is afraid of being dragged into the cultural war known as gun control. Obviously the Gun Ban Lobby is NOT about saving lives of children. If they cared about children they would address the many murdered by criminals already banned from having guns. Places like Chicago see far more children killed by criminals than Sandy Brook. Obviously criminals will not be stopped by universal background checks… they obtain their guns illegally. Obviously banning guns that look like assault rifles will do nothing to save lives. Almost never do criminals use rifles, according to FBI.

  4. If guns cause murder then golf courses would be littered with people killed by (golf) clubs, restaurants would be filled with people murdered with (table) knives, baseball fields filled with dead killed by (baseball) clubs, police would be gunning down hundreds a day due to their guns, home improvement stores full of dead killed by hammers like the Bosnian guy in St. Louis.

    • Except that this is not true anywhere else in the Western world. Europe has a strict firearm control and we have miniscule number of gun deaths compared to US and the other types of deaths (knife, axes, clubs and wherever else) do not tip the scale. It is very easy to kill with guns and do it fast and effectively. It takes some time and skill and guts to kill that same number of people with a knife as you can do with one round from an automatic weapon.
      But I think guns are not the only reason. I think Michael Moore did a really good job of asking some of this questions in Bowling for Columbine. I recommend you to watch it – it does not really give any answers but it certainly asks good questions.

  5. The distinct possibility is that laws don’t stop criminal behavior. Why would a criminal bent on the heinous crime of mass murder pay attention to a lesser law? If that person is intent on wreaking that much havoc, what will a law do? You can say it will deter that unstable person from legally obtaining a gun, but your argument would be circular as that person would seek other means of obtaining whatever they needed to commit that dastardly act. One of the actual negative aspects of the argument of gun control is that you are depriving the law abiding of the ability to obtain firearms to protect themselves with. I live n Connecticut, where over a year ago an unstable individual with an enabling parent allowed him access to a few firearms that he stole and committed a terrible crime. Prior to the incident the gun laws in Connecticut were among the strictest in the nation. We had an assault rifle ban, a gun owner liability law that put the owner of a firearm in the shooter’s shoes if their unsecured firearm was used by a family member or in house guest in the commission of a crime, stringent background checks and hundreds of other laws in place PRIOR to the Sandy Hook shooting. What did those laws prevent? Nothing. Evil people will do evil things and only the people around them can avert tragedy, the laws and the police always show up afterwards to make the report and dictate the penalty.

    • You know what could help? If very few people had guns. I have lived in a few European countries and in all of them is very hard to find someone who has a gun at home. To get permission for a gun you have to go through a bureaucratic process which makes it a pain so most people don’t do it. Also there is really no gun culture like in US – people simply don’t get your obsession with needing a gun in the first place. So almost no one has guns and there are almost no gun deaths (and no, they are not making up for them with other types of deaths – the murder rates etc are still much lower than in the US) and even criminals or “unstable” people have a hard time to get a gun because there simply aren’t many.

  6. For the same reason why don’t we study UNICORNS like we study REAL animals. BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXISTS!!!!!! That is why the legislation prevents wasting tax payer money on JUNK SCIENCE into FAKE terms like GUN Violence.

    What exactly is Gun Violence????? Are the causes of MURDER different if they are committed with a gun or another tool??? Are the CAUSES of Assault different if they are committed with a gun or another tool??? Are the CAUSES of Robbery different if they are committed with a gun or another tool??? Are the CAUSES of Rape different if they are committed with a gun or another tool??? Are the CAUSES of Kidnapping different if they are committed with a gun or another tool???

    OF COURSE NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Therefore, if they use the term “Gun Violence” you already know it is BIAS JUNK SCIENCE and we shouldn’t waste Tax Payer money on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • The effects of violence while using a gun are different than using say a knife. It’s just much easier to kill more people in a shorter time and more effective way. Plus having a gun around may push a person who is in an emotionally volatile mood to actually commit murder in ways that other types of potentially murderous objects don’t – guns have a certain fetish attached to them. The rate of murder in US is much higher than comparable countries even if you take the guns of the equation so it’s not like UK is making up by stabbing people rather than shooting. I mean either it’s guns or Americans are just more murderous than Europeans.

  7. The whole CDC thingy is a pitiful attempt at an end-around to attenuate a constitutionally recognized, guaranteed right.

    The thing that these folks refuse to accept is that there are certain things over which they have no legitimate power:

    “[T]the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” – D.C. v. Heller (2008)

    Fundamental civil rights simply cannot be rationalized away.

  8. The direct cause of violence of every kind is of course in every case people, who are by their
    nature, and not necessarily because they are unbalanced mentally, subject to the irrationality
    of the emotional life. Emotions such as greed, fear, envy, jealousy or anger are a fundamental
    condition of being human.

    The major indirect cause of gun violence in the USA is the easy availability of guns. Period.
    This is so easy to prove it takes just a couple of seconds; one simply has to compare incidence
    of gun violence in the USA with the incidence of gun violence in countries where there is a
    sensible control of guns. In practice of course it would be a nightmare to clean up this mess
    and impound the probably hundreds of millions of guns which are in private possession in the
    US, but in principle the USA could reduce the rates of gun violence to match those of Europe
    by amending the constitutional amendment, so that the same legal controls on guns could be
    excerised. Indeed that is the only way the US could ever reduce gun violence.

    Which brings us to the other indirect cause of gun violence which is the obstinate Admiral
    Nelson-like blindness to the sheer obviousness of the just stated conclusion; it is much more
    difficult to perpetrate gun violence if you don’t have a gun. It’s amazing to see how people
    twist themselves inside out in an effort to avoid confronting the argument which is staring
    them in the face. And finally of course you have the pernicious, blood-letting, profit-trawling
    gun lobby with their vile propaganda which both feeds and feeds off this sad self imposed
    ignorance.

    It’s not something that fell down from heaven on Mt. Sinai. The eighteenth amendment was repealed and the second can be too.