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Anti-Gun Researcher Says Handgun Control's Claims Are Bogus

Monday, March 5, 2001

Has the Brady Act -- named after Sarah Brady, the Chair of Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI) -- caused crime to decrease? According to HCI, predictably, the answer is a resounding "yes." In a press release dated Feb. 28, 2001, HCI claimed: "A new study in California confirms what common sense has said all along: background checks on handgun purchases help reduce violent crime. 'We know from previous research that thousands of lives have been saved by the background checks required by the Brady Law, which has blocked firearms sales to more than 600,000 felons and other prohibited purchasers since 1994. This new study shows that background checks could be even more effective if they also blocked purchases by people convicted of all violent misdemeanors,' said Michael D. Barnes, President of Handgun Control. The study was conducted by public health researchers at the University of California-Davis and published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association." Baloney, according to Garen L. Wintemute, the author of the study in question ("Subsequent Criminal Activity Among Violent Misdemeanants Who Seek to Purchase Handguns") and a long-time advocate of restrictions on the right to arms. In a response posted on the Gun Policy News website, Wintemute says: "As the author of the study . . . I take strong issue with Mr. Barnes' statement that 'thousands of lives have been saved' by Brady. There is no evidence of this, other than an entirely misleading piece of work conducted by Mr. Barnes' organization. In fact, it has been proven that Brady could not possibly have saved thousands of lives. This evidence has also been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (December 6, 2000, Vol 284, pp 2719-2720)."

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.