“In California, gun-related homicide and suicide has fallen by more than 20 percent during the past 15 years, mercedsunstar.com’s Editorial Board opines. “Across the nation, the rate of gun-related deaths has been stable. Why?” Wait. What? Check out this chart from pewresearch.org:
Even if we accept the Editorial Board’s initial, unsubstantiated estimate of a 20 percent drop in The Golden State’s “gun homicide rate,” this 14-year chart shows that the “national gun violence rate” has NOT remained stable. It’s also declined. Dramatically.
The Merced Sun-Star’s Editorial Board dropped this statistical whoopsie (to be charitable) so readers would infer that California’s unconstitutional gun control laws are responsible for the state’s lower firearms-related death rate. And thus support those laws. And then join The Board in celebrating anti-gun pork barrel spending and damning the NRA. Like this:
Because gun violence is a national issue, Congress should be funding such research. That’s not going to happen so long as Congress remains under the thumb of the NRA. At the NRA’s insistence, Congress has restricted funding used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for any gun-related research. The NRA was afraid of what we might learn.
The ensuing vacuum has been only partially filled by philanthropists, including Wintemute, who used his own money to keep the lights on at his UC Davis center. Now the state of California will spend $5 million over five years for this work.
This is a perfect example of why gun rights advocates view the Golden State’s grant to long-time gun control advocate Gary Wintermute — via his UC Davis Firearm Violence Research Center — as a prelude to [more] propaganda. The antis’ assertion that there’s a block on CDC “gun violence” research is a lie.
In 1996, federal legislators inserted this clause — known as the Dickey Amendment — into the 1996 Omnibus Appropriations Bill:
None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.
Is there anything in that text preventing the CDC from studying “gun violence”? There is not. The CDC is free to allocate some of its $6 billion-plus budget to objective firearms-related research. It has chosen not to. As for additional funding for “gun violence” research . . .
After the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama issued an executive order directing the CDC to “conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it.” Congress denied his request for $10m in earmarked funding to implement the order.
Perhaps that’s because Republican Congresscritters know that so-called “gun violence” researchers have an anti-gun axe to grind. As evidenced by this quote from the Merced Sun-Star’s editorial:
Maybe now, excellent ideas – guns that can’t be fired by anyone except rightful owners; requiring more pressure to pull triggers; micro-stamping bullets – can be studied for effectiveness.
Setting aside the well-established ineffectiveness and impracticality of “smart guns” and micro-stamping, this is the first time I’ve seen antigun agit-propagators argue that increasing a handgun’s trigger pull weight would reduce “gun violence.” If the Editorial Board knew thing one about guns, they’d know that not one thin dime needs spending to research that idea.
We have never believed the presence of legally carried concealed guns make our communities one bit safer. Anecdotal evidence of a “good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun,” prove nothing, and there are just as many anecdotes of gun owners accidentally shooting loved ones and bystanders (also proving nothing). Until we gather the facts, we won’t know the value or harm of either scenario.
Gathering facts like…. the lowest estimate of annual defensive gun uses in the US is 55k per year. (The highest reliable estimates crest 1m p.a.) And in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pegged the number of accidental firearms deaths at 505 — representing less than one percent of all unintentional deaths for that year.
The facts about guns are out there. While there’s no reason not to collect more of them — as objectively as possible — suggesting that these facts support gun control requires turning your back on existing data, of which there is plenty.