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How the Government Stifled Gun Research

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What should be done about guns?

In the wake of the mass murder of elementary schoolers and their teachers in Newtown, Conn., last month, that question is getting more attention than it has in many years. Vice President Joe Biden, who is chairing a working group on gun violence, has already met with lawmakers on new gun policy proposals, which President Barack Obama promised to unveil publicly this week.

But scientific evidence for exactly which kind of legislation would be most effective at stemming gun violence is lacking -- a situation that is in many ways of the government's own creation. Several congressional efforts in the 1990s and up to 2011 have limited federal research on gun violence, vastly reducing the scientific data available for policymakers today.

What's left is piecemeal and often small-scale research that fails to answer big questions about effective restrictions, the link between gun violence and mental health and cultural factors such as media, said Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University and former president of the American Psychological Association. Farley has been calling for what he dubs a "national violence project" that would approach the question of gun violence with the same gusto as the Manhattan project developing the atomic bomb, or the Apollo missions to the moon.


Deliberately pushing for ignorance all these years, bravo.

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