Expert Panel Outlines Plan To Restart Federal Gun Research


A panel of experts assembled in response to the Newtown school shooting has provided an ambitious set of priorities for federal research on guns, ending a 17-year lull in the study of gun violence after Congress took away federal money for the topic in the 1990s, the New York Times reports. “Basic information about gun possession, distribution, ownership, acquisition and storage is lacking,” the experts concluded. They added that “without good data, it is virtually impossible to answer fundamental questions” about gun violence or to evaluate programs intended to reduce that violence. President Obama has $10 million for gun-related research in his 2014 budget, the first federal financing for the topic in years. Panel chairman Alan 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 Leshner, 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.”

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