Justice Department Issues New Research Plan on Guns, Violence


The U.S. Justice Department is reinstituting research on gun violence, a topic that has had renewed attention in Washington since the December killings of elementary school students in Newtown, Conn. “I am hoping to see a resurgence of research” on firearms, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary said today at the annual Guggenheim Symposium on Crime at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In a separate action, President Obama last month said he would issue a memo directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

Last Friday, the National Institute of Justice, the Justice Department’s main research agency, issued a solicitation for proposals “focusing on the criminal use of firearms, gun violence, and the relationship between guns and public safety. Some examples of research in this area include, but are not limited to, the effects of criminal justice interventions on reducing gun violence, improving data systems for studying gun violence, illicit gun markets, and the effects of firearm policies and legislation on criminal justice and public safety.” Leary said the new research program was instituted before Newtown by recently departed NIJ Director John Laub, who discussed the issue last month with The Crime Report. The NIJ is commissioning other research on “smart gun technology,” Leary said.

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