It’s time for legitimate gun research

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


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

10 thoughts on “It’s time for legitimate gun research

  1. Tycer

    Hi, in your call for fact checking I would like to point out that the United States does not have “way more violent crime than any other country that is not currently hosting a war inside their borders”. In fact, the United States is not even in the top ten per capita in violent crime in aggregate. In OECD countries the US was tenth in ’07 according to this source: CIVITAS in the UK has more current data however you’ll need to crunch the numbers for yourself as they are not compiled into the one category violent crime.

  2. travelah

    As Tycer indicated, the statistical opinions being presented are questionable. However, the greater issue, in my opinion, is the overwhelming focus on the 99.98% of all gun owning households who do not harbor murderers rather than addressing our attention on the perpetrators of “gun violence”. It is the criminal that is the problem and not the law abiding gun owner. It is quite logical to point out that criminals do not obey “gun laws” and rather than attempt to punish the vast majority of gun owners, perhaps we should begin to examine and enforce the thousands of statutes we already have.

  3. Susan Oehler

    Without research, we do not know that “if the thousands of statures were enforced” it would make a difference. Without research, we do not know who the next perpetrator of gun violence might be. Without research, we do not know what steps could be taken to reduce gun violence in this country.

    What we do know is about 1,000 Americans are killed by guns every month, year in and year out, and that this number far exceeds the number of gun deaths in other countries. What we do know is that the NRA was the main instrument to shut down the research on gun violence. You can draw your own conclusions as to WHY they did that.

    We do know that the US leads (among developed countries) in gun homicides. Here is some data on the overall violent crime rate by country:

    it is pretty straight-forward to count dead bodies,and homicides generally are reported. But it is not so straight-forward to count violent crimes, if they even get reported at all. Everyone has a different definition, and there are many crimes not reported.

    • travelah

      “Research” is not going to provide you any more insight on what we already know, that 99.98% of households owning guns do not harbor murderers yet it is the 99.98% that are being targeted.

  4. ChristopherCNC

    “Research” is not going to provide you any more insight on what we already know, that 99.98% of households owning guns do not harbor murderers yet it is the 99.98% that are being targeted.

    Hogwash! You have no research to back up that statistic.

    Can you even break down gun violence and injury between those who own their guns and those who are just borrowing them?

    • travelah

      It is very simple to figure out, Christopher. How many people are murdered each year with guns into the households who own guns.

  5. HHA3

    The possibility that a home owner may possess a means of self-defense (a gun) may, in theory, deter a criminal from breaking into a home. Since this is a only a theory, I would suggest Ms Oehler test this theory by posting a large sign at her home stating the following: “This Home is Proudly Gun Free” and see how it goes.

  6. HHA3

    From a Daily Beast article by David Mamet:
    The Left loves a phantom statistic that a firearm in the hands of a citizen is X times more likely to cause accidental damage than to be used in the prevention of crime, but what is there about criminals that ensures that their gun use is accident-free? If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves? Is this absurd? Yes, and yet the government, of course, is arming criminals.

    Violence by firearms is most prevalent in big cities with the strictest gun laws. In Chicago and Washington, D.C., for example, it is only the criminals who have guns, the law-abiding populace having been disarmed, and so crime runs riot.

    Cities of similar size in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and elsewhere, which leave the citizen the right to keep and bear arms, guaranteed in the Constitution, typically are much safer. More legal guns equal less crime. What criminal would be foolish enough to rob a gun store? But the government alleges that the citizen does not need this or that gun, number of guns, or amount of ammunition.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.