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California Lawmakers Considering State-Funded Research On Gun Violence

California Lawmakers Considering State-Funded Research On Gun Violence
February 16, 2016 12:11 AM
By Lemor Abrams

Filed Under: Gun Violence

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Lawmakers are considering a bill that would fund a new UC Center to study gun violence and prevention.

The statistics are clear—guns kill 30,000 Americans a year, but Garen Wintemute says no one knows for certain why people kill or how those deaths could be preventable.

“Studying firearm violence is no different than studying cancer heart disease or motor vehicle trauma,” the UC Davis violence prevention researcher said.

He’s one of a few researchers in the country who studies gun violence prevention. Right now, it’s out of an unmarked building in Sacramento, but he’s being considered to lead a proposed UC firearm violence research center somewhere in California.

Wintemute says the center would study the science of guns—Why do people buy guns? Why do they use guns to kill? Exactly how many guns are in the United States? Does open-carry violence reduce or worsen gun violence?

“Some of those prevention efforts might be legislation. Others might be violence prevention programs run by hospitals. New prevention efforts doesn’t have to mean passing new legislation,” he said.

Firearm Policy Coalition director Craig DeLuz says the new research will promote gun control.

“It’s always been about restricting and taking away our Second Amendment rights,” he said. “When it’s truly nonbiased, as it is for the data out of the CDC, well then, that data doesn’t support their policy conclusion.”

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention was in charge of research, until the money for that research was stripped by a Republican congressman in 1996 after the National Rifle Association accused the government agency of lobbying for gun control. That money was added back in, but with the following wording slipped into another 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.”

Since that ban, gun research by the CDC has slipped significantly.

Wintemute says the challenge now is getting California lawmakers to approve an estimated $2 million a year for five years to research gun violence.

“It doesn’t matter if a little girl dies or by leukemia or a stray bullet to the head—both of those deaths should be prevented,” he said. “If we need to spend some money to learn how to do that, let’s get cracking.”

Lemor AbramsFollowTwitter: @LemorAbrams
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Lemor Abrams is an Emmy-Award winning news reporter, who has interviewed thousands of people, from key political figures to everyday folks who impact their community. Her very…More from Lemor AbramsComments

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