Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

National Firearms Injury Surveillance System

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Anti-Gun Researchers Grabbing For Guns--and Uncle Sam`s Pocketbook--Again

One of the current primary goals of anti-gun public health professionals is the establishment of a federally-funded national firearms injury surveillance system. They claim that its purpose would be to enable researchers--them--to study the firearms issue (receiving lucrative grants of public moneys to do so), to determine the nature and extent of gun-related violence in America and thereafter craft "scientific" efforts to curb it. During the Clinton Administration, Congress curbed the practice of paying anti-gun researchers to conduct "studies" used for anti-gun propaganda purposes. However, the researchers hope that where there is a will (to promote "gun control" and be paid for it), there is a way, and that an injury surveillance system is it.

While anti-gun researchers assert that they would conduct studies objectively, their past activities suggest otherwise. Those most fervently calling for data collection now previously have advocated gun prohibition. Among them, several prominent New York doctors provided an eight-point program to the Journal of the American Medical Association, including a call for a firearm injury surveillance system, following an admission that the ultimate goal was a ban on the private possession of handguns. Similarly, the HELP (Handgun Epidemic Lowering Plan) Network, now leading the charge for an injury surveillance system, previously stated that its goal is to change "society`s attitude toward guns so that it becomes socially unacceptable for private citizens to have handguns." And surveillance advocates at the Medical College of Wisconsin called for a ban on "Black Talon" ammunition, alleging various threats to the medical community, without having first collected any data as to whether the threats were real, or whether greater threats to doctors and nurses came from cutting and stabbing instruments kept in surgical rooms than from the century-old problem of pointed parts of bullets. Additional reasons to oppose a federally-funded injury surveillance system include:

  • Data collection, even if objectively conducted, would inevitably have biased results. The data that would be collected by the system would relate only to misuses of firearms (murders, suicides, and accidents). Data on protective and other beneficial uses of guns would not be recorded by an injury surveillance system since, obviously, there is no injury to record in the vast majority of self-defense uses of firearms and in all properly conducted sporting firearms uses. Additionally, data would be collected only on injuries involving guns, ignoring those involving knives, clubs, fists and feet, and other non-firearm objects.

When data using the Wisconsin surveillance system were reported to a multidisciplinary group studying homicide, Roland Chilton, president of the American Society of Criminology, said that focusing on just firearms, rather than other weapons, looked more like rhetoric than science. In order to evaluate the real threat to the medical community from the Black Talon round, for example--the fear being that cuts from the bullet being extracted from persons shot with the round might expose doctors and nurses to such blood-borne pathogens as HIV--data would have to be collected on all methods by which that community accidentally cuts itself exposing members to blood-borne pathogens of at-risk patients.

In sum, the policy debate about gun control really calls for a cost-benefit analysis, weighing the good which flows from the ownership and use of firearms against the bad. Surveillance system advocates are not interested in such an approach, since firearms are used for self-defense far more often than to commit crimes, widespread ownership and carrying of firearms deters violent criminals, and persons who use firearms to defend against crime are statistically less likely to be injured by criminals than persons who use another, or no, means of self-defense.

  • The data collection envisioned is impractical and expensive. When the medical community have attempted to record data on the types of guns and ammunition involved in injuries, they have failed to do so accurately. To the extent that the data collection system envisioned involves input from law enforcement agencies, crime labs, emergency-room personnel, social workers, and other groups, it could become quite costly, with no clear benefit.
  • Data collected would be used for political rhetoric more than for scientific analysis. Prominent anti-gun public health researcher Arthur Kellermann explained to sympathetic colleagues that the benefit of national firearm-related morbidity and mortality surveillance system was that gun-control advocates could lobby each congressman to support pending anti-gun legislation by telling him precisely how much gun injury occurred in his district annually. Certainly, all public health advocates of restrictive gun laws--and all anti-gun groups--have made similar but less detailed use of gun-related mortality data already collected.
  • Data collection advocates are interested in data only to the extent that it can be used to argue for "gun control." Data collection has indicated that the federal "assault weapon" ban was unjustified and not working, that gun-surrender programs don`t work, and that one-gun-a-month restrictions are not warranted, yet data collection advocates have been silent in the public debate of those issues.
  • Surveillance system proponents envision taxing gun buyers to pay for collecting data. The most prominent call for such a system advocated taxing guns to pay for it, simultaneously fulfilling gun-prohibitionists` goal of making guns more expensive. Curiously, the alleged model for firearms surveillance, the FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) for motor vehicle accidents, is not paid for by taxing cars, nor is it clear that it is beneficial. Public health professionals pretend that the decline in motor vehicle accidents is related to data collection and analysis, but the gun-related fatal accident rate has fallen considerably faster than the motor-vehicle accident rate, and the decline in car accidents is more closely tied to the decline in the availability of cheap gas, and speed limit policies, than to anything related to public-health research.

1 One of those physicians has gone on to lead in the establishment of Doctors Against Handgun Injury, calling, of course, for a national firearm injury surveillance system.

2 Two examples demonstrate the HELP Network`s interest in objective data collection and analysis. It refused to allow the pro-gun head of Doctors for Integrity in Policy Research to attend their annual meeting. And in response to an open letter from the head of the group, the HELP Network`s founder and leader, K.K. Christoffel e-mailed colleagues (7/16/97, 11:23:52 EDT): "Does this group have a web page; if so, does it list members? Might VPC (the handgun-ban advocacy group, Violence Policy Center) dig up some dirt on it?"

IN THIS ARTICLE
Other
TRENDING NOW
Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

The Illinois state Senate could vote on legislation to allow localities to infringe upon Second Amendment rights as early as today.  Senate Bill 2314 was moved to third reading after it had passed the Senate ...

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

Dick’s Sporting Goods took their campaign to alienate law-abiding gun owners to an extraordinary new level last week. The beleaguered retailer announced that in addition to removing certain types of semi-automatic rifles from their stores, the company ...

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms!  In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms! In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

In case you were worried there were not enough anti-gun organizations working to eradicate the rights of law-abiding gun owners, a new one has formed, and it’s called NoRA.  Get it?  The name implies that the ...

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

On Monday, the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee approved several gun control bills during a hearing that stretched over five hours. 

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, murders, there has been an unusual amount of anti-gun and anti-NRA commentary by private corporations with plenty of problems of their own.   In February, Delta announced it was ending a ...

Washington: Seattle to Consider Legislation to Make Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Washington: Seattle to Consider Legislation to Make Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilmember M. Lorena González have announced their intention to introduce legislation to impose a one-size-fits-all method of storing firearms as well as punishing victims of theft by requiring reporting of lost or ...

Pennsylvania: Semi-Auto Ban Legislation to be Introduced

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pennsylvania: Semi-Auto Ban Legislation to be Introduced

This week, Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) started circulating a co-sponsorship memorandum soliciting members of the Pennsylvania state Senate to support a proposal to ban commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines in Pennsylvania.  Please ...

NRA Salutes “the Gunny” and Mourns the Passing of an American Patriot

News  

Friday, April 20, 2018

NRA Salutes “the Gunny” and Mourns the Passing of an American Patriot

America, and the NRA, lost a true friend and a staunch defender of freedom with the passing of R. Lee Ermey on April 15 from complications of pneumonia. He was 74 years old. 

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

There is growing evidence that some of America’s financial elite want to create a world in which America’s public policy decisions emanate from corporate boardrooms in Manhattan rather than from citizens and their elected officials.  ...

NRA backs Challenge to Vermont Magazine Ban

News  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

NRA backs Challenge to Vermont Magazine Ban

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced support for a lawsuit brought by Vermont citizens, sporting-goods stores, and shooting clubs to challenge the state¹s recent ban on many of the most ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.