Shotgun Forum banner

CDC: Impact of gun laws cloudy

900 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  CartridgeGuy
CDC: Impact of gun laws cloudy
Task force says more study needed before judging effectiveness of controls

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The jury is still out on whether gun control laws reduce violence, according to a report Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been criticized for considering injuries from firearms a public health issue.

A CDC task force reviewed 51 studies looking at whether several types of gun laws prevent violent crimes, suicides or accidents. The laws include bans on specific firearms, restrictions on weapon acquisition, waiting periods, mandatory registration and licensing, concealed weapons regulations, child-access prevention measures and "zero tolerance" for guns in schools.

The task force, claiming most of the studies are contradictory, incomplete or poorly designed, found "insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws" and called for more research.

The task force is composed of 14 academic, business and government health experts. Other reports by the group have looked at tobacco use, physical activity and oral health.

Gun ownership advocates, who successfully lobbied Congress to forbid the CDC from promoting gun control, applauded the new report. The restriction began in 1997.

"It's certainly a quantum leap in the right direction," said Dr. Edgar Suter of California, chairman of Doctors for Integrity in Policy Research, created in response to CDC-funded gun studies. "It has been as plain as the nose on my face that disarming innocent victims is not a policy that saves lives."

The National Rifle Association said it needed more time to review the report before commenting on it.

Gun control supporters noted the CDC said the studies were inconclusive, not that firearm laws don't work. They also said the very research necessary to settle the issue is undermined by the restrictions Congress has placed on the CDC.

CDC money for gun studies dropped from $2.6 million in 1995 to $400,000 last year. The agency funded seven of the 51 studies reviewed.

"As a result of a dreadful lack of studies, the CDC concludes that they can't make any conclusions as to the effectiveness of the laws. We agree that more research is needed," said Peter Hamm, spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Violence. The organization is named for Jim Brady, the White House press secretary who was wounded during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan.

Dr. Arthur Kellermann, chairman of Emory University's Department of Emergency Medicine, conducted some of the studies that triggered debate in the 1990s over whether the CDC should tackle injuries -- especially gun violence -- as part of its public health mission.

One of Kellermann's studies, financed by the CDC and published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1995, said homes with guns were five times more likely to be the scene of suicides and nearly three times more likely to be the scene of homicides than homes without guns.

The new CDC report does not contradict that finding, Kellermann said. His research looked at the risks and benefits of having guns at home, not at firearm laws, he said.

"The report reflects that the CDC is careful, methodical and conservative in its judgment of any public health interventions, including those involving firearms laws," Kellermann said.

But Suter said the CDC needs to further study the pros of keeping guns as well as the cons. "The real benefit of defensive firearm use is the lives that are saved, injuries that are prevented, property that is saved and medical costs that are eliminated," he said.

Injuries from firearms were the second leading cause of injury deaths in 2000, killing 28,663 people. Of those deaths, 58 percent were suicides; 38 percent were homicides; and 3 percent were accidents.
What I find interesting about the statistics listed at the end here is that the vast majority of deaths were suicides! And that takes us right back to the issue of "If you want to die, you will find a way, whether it is with a gun, slitting your wrists, overdose of drugs, carbon monoxide, etc." Conversely, if you want to kill someone you will find a way, whether it is with guns, knives, a car, strangling, pushing someone off a building or beating them to death with a baseball bat.

As I see it the math works as follows:
16624 suicides
10892 homicides
860 accidents
(there is a little difference in numbers due to lack of places to the right of the decimal point)

WOW!! That is an interesting set of statistics. Of all of the deaths, only 860 due to accidents. My question would be to further define those statisitcs. Were the accidents sporting related, or were they someone "cleaning the proverbial loaded gun"? My guess is that the majority were children who have never been instructed in the safe handling of a firearm "playing" with dad's gun (loaded because of ignorance) that they found in the back of the closet and thought it would be cool to "try it out". To me, those are not accidents, those are completely avoidable situations that could have been prevented by
1.) Instructing children in the safe handling of a firearm, and most importantly, teach them respect for its power.
2.) Not keeping the firearm loaded.
3.) Not making the firearm a "mystery" by hiding it.
IF those three rules were followed, I think we would see that 3% statistic reduuced considerably.
See less See more
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.