Research restrictions advocated by the National Rifle Association have hampered finding solutions to firearms violence, more than a hundred scientists from virtually every major U.S. university told Vice President Joe Biden’s task force on gun violence yesterday, Reuters reports. The group of economists, health researchers, educators, doctors, and criminologists said funding should be restored to a range of study areas, from gun safety to tracking illegal guns.
“While mortality rates from almost every major cause of death declined dramatically over the past half century, the homicide rate in America today is almost exactly the same as it was in 1950,” the academics wrote in a letter organized by scholars at the University of Chicago Crime Lab research center. “Politically-motivated constraints” left the nation “muddling through” a problem that costs American society on the order of $100 billion per year, it said. The federal Centers for Disease Control has cut firearms safety research by 96 percent since the mid-1990s, according to one estimate. Congress, pushed by the gun lobby, in 1996 put restrictions on CDC funding of gun research into the budget.