A Good Reason Why Congress Shouldn't Fund Gun Control Research

Posted on August 23, 2013

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It’s no news that the NRA supports not only the Second Amendment, but also other parts of the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment’s protection of the right to express one’s political opinion. That was made that pretty clear in the debate over Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Supreme Court ultimately struck down restrictions on the ability of the NRA and other groups to speak freely during the days and weeks preceding elections.

So, NRA supports the constitutionally protected right of the anti-gun group, Washington Ceasefire, to buy advertisements mounted on the sides of city buses in Seattle, saying “Think twice about having a gun in your home. There is a 22x greater chance of killing a family member or friend versus an intruder.”

Fair is fair, however, so Washington Ceasefire should support our right to point out that their claim is baloney, that the itsy-bitsy Seattle-based “study” that the claim comes from has been discredited more times than we can remember, and that “studies” of its sort are precisely the reason Congress should deny President Obama’s request for $10 million to fund additional such nonsense.

Taking its cue from the Violence Policy Center, Washington Ceasefire is also claiming that more people die from gun violence than motor vehicle accidents. Bus-mounted posters are pretty large, but apparently not large enough for the group to include some words explaining, as we did in October, three huge reasons not to buy the claim. First, when anti-gun advocates use the term “gun violence,” they refer not only to criminal homicides, but also count self-defense homicides, suicides and accidents, which together account for two-thirds of all gun-related deaths.

Second, they neglect to note that with far fewer people holding jobs during the Obama “economic recovery,” fewer people are spending time on the roads, going to and from work, and traveling on vacation. To simplify it for activists who have time to campaign against guns because they don’t have real jobs, fewer miles traveled mean fewer vehicle traffic-related deaths.

Third, whatever the relationship between the risk factors for motor vehicle and firearm accidents, there is hardly any association between vehicle accidents and firearm homicides and suicides. Furthermore, firearm accidents have declined at a much greater rate than motor vehicle accidents, without anywhere near the restrictions that are placed on people who own and drive automobiles.

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