6/09/2013

Very sloppy claims that more government funding is necessary on guns

I get that researchers always want more money, but people have to take those desires with a grain of salt.  Just because researchers want more taxpayer money, doesn't mean that it is really needed.  Just about everyone would say they need more money from the government if they were asked and researchers are no different.  From the New York Times:
. . . President Obama has included $10 million for gun-related research in his 2014 budget, the first federal financing for the topic in years, and the panel’s chairman, Alan I. Leshner, said the report was a first step to deepen evidence about the public health implications of guns. The panel was assembled by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council at President Obama’s request.
“Policies are made on the basis of facts and values, and we are the facts people,” said Mr. Leshner, who is the chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “We are trying to provide a tool for the country to address this very difficult issue more productively than it has been able to do in the past.”
Among the panel’s recommendations was a call for better data on guns. For example, there is no national count of how many guns there are in the country. And while federal law enforcement authorities, like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, gather data on specific guns, they track only those used in crimes, and often the details are not accessible to researchers. One database, the National Violent Death Reporting System, which compiles information on deaths from police departments and medical examiners’ offices, covers only about a third of the states. . . .
The problem is also that creating this data isn't bias free.  The people who create it could have a political agenda and the concern is that the Obama administration could use political criteria on who they decide to give the money too.  The lopsided bias in terms of how this report was put together shows why we shouldn't trust the Obama administration to look at these issues objectively.

A copy of the report is available here.  Here is what the study writes on concealed carry research:
Even when defensive use of guns is effective in averting death or injury for the gun user in cases of crime, it is still possible that keeping a gun in the home or carrying a gun in public—concealed or open carry— may have a different net effect on the rate of injury. For example, if gun ownership raises the risk of suicide, homicide, or the use of weapons by those who invade the homes of gun owners this could cancel or outweigh the beneficial effects of defensive gun use (Kellermann et al., 1992, 1993, 1995). Although some early studies were published that relate to this issue, they were not conclusive, and this is a sufficiently important question that it merits additional, careful exploration. . . . . 
Seriously?  They act as if no research has been done on these questions since 1995, and I wouldn't even count Kellermann's research as providing serious research.  His research did a poor job of looking at the risks of guns in the home.  Yet, they make a claim that more research is needed in this area without even acknowledging all the research that has already been done.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Frank Ch. Eigler said...

Perhaps we can take up a collection and send them a copy of your book.

6/10/2013 9:59 AM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Maybe you should tell them about your work Dr. Lott?

6/10/2013 1:05 PM  

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