Ray Shamlin states in his Jan. 2 letter, “Is Gun Control the Answer?” that, “From research we know that gun control is not the answer.” We know no such thing from research, because research means developing a hypothesis, collecting data to test the hypothesis, and then analyzing the data. And that has not been seriously done about guns in the U.S. Since 1997.
What we do know is that the NRA lobbied-up back in 1996 and got pro-gun members of Congress to try to eliminate the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control. Congress failed to totally defund the center, but they did eliminate $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget, which was exactly the amount spent on firearm research in the previous year.
Research does not mean, “I believe it to be true, so it must be true.” The fact is, the U.S.A. has more guns per capita than any other developed country and we have the highest gun-fatality rate to go with that. And while violent crime in the U.S. went down between 1990 and 2010, we have always had way more violent crime than any other country that is not currently hosting a war inside their borders.
Finding solutions to the 2012 mass murders by assault weapons will not happen if we are dedicated to being anti-fact, anti-critical thinking, anti-intellectual thought, anti-science and anti-research. The fact that the NRA came out strongly for shutting down research should tell everyone that they are trying to hide something — and I believe that “something” is the real effect of guns on our society.
— Susan Oehler