Despite the fact that the United States has a very, very high rate of gun deaths compared to other developed countries, we actually know very little about the public-health threat posed by firearms. That's because Congress, working closely with the NRA, passed legislation in the 1990s barring the Centers for Disease control from spending money on any research that could be seen as pro-gun-control, and the CDC has interpreted this ban in a broad manner — the NRA's maneuvering has effectively choked off decades of would-be new research on an area of huge public importance.
This has been a very big deal: There is a ton of stuff we don't know about the public-health impact of guns that we would know were it not for Congress and the NRA. But now, there's some welcome news out of California that will chip away at this knowledge deficit: The University of California, Davis, is launching the first-ever state-funded center on the study of gun violence.
The center, notes a UC Davis press release, "will build on unique resources already in place at UC Davis for conducting transformative violence-prevention research and draw on the power of other UC campuses and beyond to provide the scientific evidence that informs the development of effective prevention policies and programs." It will be run by Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency physician and gun-violence expert who has spent $1 million of his own money on this sort of research, and who heads UC Davis' Violence Prevention and Research Program, or VPRP. California will be footing the bill — it has set aside $5 million to launch the center.
As with so many things, LGBT rights, moving towards renewable resources, innovative technologies, a lot of progressive policies and products seem to spring from California.
And here they are again starting a research project that will do what the government really should have been doing all along, and that is studying gun violence and its impact on the country and its citizens.
You would think that this would be the kind of research that the NRA and 2nd Amendment folks would rally around in order to get access to the best information available.
However I think we all know that will not happen because they already know that the findings will not support their bullshit about the importance of having more guns in the hands of more Americans.