Journalism in the Public Interest

What Researchers Learned About Gun Violence Before Congress Killed Funding

We spoke with the scientist who led the government’s research on guns.

We spoke with Dr. Mark Rosenberg, the scientist who led the government's research on guns before funding was cut. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Obama has directed the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence as part of his legislative package on gun control. The CDC hasn't pursued this kind of research since 1996 when the National Rifle Association lobbied Congress to cut funding for it, arguing that the studies were politicized and being used to promote gun control. We've interviewed Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who led the agency's gun violence research in the nineties when he was the director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

We talked to Rosenberg about the work the agency was doing before funding was cut and how it's relevant to today's gun control debate. Here's an edited transcript.

There's been coverage recently about how Congress cut funding for gun violence research, but not much about what the agency was actually researching and what it was finding. You were in charge of that. Tell us a little bit about what the CDC was doing back then.

There were basically four questions that we were trying to answer. The first question is what is the problem? Who were the victims? Who was killed? Who were injured? Where did they happen? Under what circumstances? When? What times of the year? What times of the day? What was the relationship to other events? How did they happen? What were the weapons that were used? What was the relationship between the people involved? What was the motive or the setting in which they happened?

The second question is what are the causes? What are the things that increase one's risk of being shot? What are the things that decrease one's risk of being shot?

The third question we were trying to answer is what works to prevent these? What kinds of policies, what kinds of interventions, what kinds of police practices or medical practices or education and school practices actually might prevent some of these shootings? We're not just looking at mass shootings, but also looking at the bulk of the homicides that occur every year and the suicides, which account for a majority of all gun deaths.

Then the last question is how do you do it? Once you have a program or policy that has been proven to work in one place, how do you spread it? How do you actually put it in place?

So what were you were able to find before funding got cut off?

One of the critical studies that we supported was looking at the question of whether having a firearm in your home protects you or puts you at increased risk. This was a very important question because people who want to sell more guns say that having a gun in your home is the way to protect your family.

What the research showed was not only did having a firearm in your home not protect you, but it hugely increased the risk that someone in your family would die from a firearm homicide. It increased the risk almost 300 percent, almost three times as high.

It also showed that the risk that someone in your home would commit suicide went up. It went up five-fold if you had a gun in the home. These are huge, huge risks, and to just put that in perspective, we look at a risk that someone might get a heart attack or that they might get a certain type of cancer, and if that risk might be 20 percent greater, that may be enough to ban a certain drug or a certain product.

But in this case, we're talking about a risk not 20 percent, not 100 percent, not 200 percent, but almost 300 percent or 500 percent. These are huge, huge risks.

I understand there was also an effort to collect data on gun violence through something called the Firearm Injury Surveillance System. What did that involve?

We were collecting information to answer the question of who, what, where, when, and how did shootings occur?

We were finding that most homicides occur between people who know each other, people who are acquaintances or might be doing business together or might be living together. They're not stranger-on-stranger shootings. They're not mostly home intrusions.

We also found that there were a lot of firearm suicides, and in fact most firearm deaths are suicides. There were a lot of young people who were impulsive who were using guns to commit suicide.

So if you were able to continue this work, what kind of data do you think would be available today?

I think we'd know much more information about what sorts of weapons are used in what sorts of firearm deaths and injuries.

Let's say you look at robbery associated homicides, and you find that in those homicides certain weapons are used in almost all of them and that these weapons come from a limited number of sources and that those weapons are not used by people to defend their home or to hunt or to target shoot. Then you can say, "Here's a type of weapon that seems to be only used in criminal enterprises and doesn't seem to have any legitimate uses, and maybe we ought to find a way to restrict the sales or access to that type of weapon."

I think it's also important to look at what the impact of these data might be.

If you look at how many deaths have occurred between 1996, when there was this disruption to surveillance and research, and now, so that's 16 years, and if you assume that there are about 30,000 gun deaths every year, you're talking about 480,000 gun deaths over that period of time.

If even a fraction of those deaths could have been prevented, you're talking about a significant impact in terms of saving lives.

Lawmakers are now trying to figure out what the most effective policies might be to curb gun violence, and how to implement them. What were you beginning to find on that?

The largest question in this category is what kind of larger policies work? Does it work, for example, if you have an assault weapon ban? Does that reduce the number of firearm injuries and deaths? In truth, we don't know the answer to that. That requires evaluation.

Does gun licensing and registration work to reduce firearm injuries and death? We don't have the answer.

The policies that make it easier to carry concealed weapons, do those reduce or do those increase firearm injuries and deaths? We don't have the answer. Do gun bans like they have in the city of Chicago, work? We don't have the answer yet to those.

These require large-scale studies of large numbers of people, over a long period of time to see if they work or don't.

I don't think those studies were fully funded or completed.

How do you think the gun control debate might be different today, if you had been allowed to continue that research?

I would like to think that we would have had answers to what works and what doesn't work. I would hope that we know whether the kind of bans and restrictions that they have in Chicago really make a difference or don't. I would hope that we would have had information about whether an assault weapon ban saves lives or doesn't. Unfortunately, when you don't have those data that really show you, scientifically, whether or not something works, then you end up with people making statements like the following, "Obviously, the assault weapon ban didn't work, because Columbine happened."

That's kind of like saying, "Vaccines don't work because someone got the flu."

The Obama administration is asking Congress for $10 million to pursue gun-related research. If you had that budget and you had your old job, what would you use the money to look at?

I think we'd want to look at what the impact of different policies would be, both restricting and enabling policies.

The other thing that I would make sure we looked at is not just how do we prevent firearm injuries, but how do we also protect the rights of legitimate gun owners? I think it would be very important to look, for example, at legislation that restricts access by certain people to firearms. Let's say these might be people who have committed felonies or people who have been adjudicated mentally ill.

People often think that there are maybe three things we should consider passing right now, something like an assault weapons ban, a ban on large capacity magazines, and background checks on all gun purchasers.

The truth is that there's not going to be a simple, magic pill or even three pills that cure the whole problem. If you look at suicides and the whole range of homicides and firearm injuries, the answers are going to come, bit by bit, over time, incrementally.

It's not one, two or even three things that are really going to solve the problem. They may salve our conscience, but they won't solve the problem. The research is really, really important. We really need to find out what works, so that we can save more lives.

It's been presented to people that research is going to hurt legitimate gun owners. That's the threat and how the NRA leadership has often presented it to the NRA membership. "Any sort of research is only going to result in your losing all your guns."

That's a tactic of fear. It's not at all the case. There are things we can do that will both reduce firearm injuries and protect the legitimate rights of gun owners and protect the children and their families.

The perfect solution to achieve gun control:  JOBS

Walter D. Shutter, Jr.

Feb. 25, 2013, 3:55 p.m.

I think Dr. Rosenberg wants that $10 million.

Wow, that’s not biased at all. I wonder if people ever considered people might buy a gun to protect themselves, hence why households with guns are more likely to involve shootings: because they live in an area where that is likely.

Nah, I’m sure having a gun somehow makes it more likely for you to become a bullet magnet.

I see 3 silly posts already. jobs are not gun control. Dr Rosenberg has a different job now. And very few people get shot with bullets that are not from guns. Not too surprising, since I expect a lot of the “cold, dead hand” crowd to be putting their opinions down here.

Silly Post #4… And another of the “Cold, Dead Hand Crowd”...
The question in the article asks…“Do gun bans like they have in the city of Chicago, work? We don’t have the answer yet to those.  These require large-scale studies of large numbers of people, over a long period of time to see if they work or don’t.”  Really?

I offer this… Since 2001, US Troops killed in Afghanistan total about 2000… Deaths, from gun fire, in “Gun-Free Zone” Chicago… More than 5000. (Dept. of Defense and FBI statistics)

Save the $10 Million… Simply Look at existing Liberal influences on our society.

Marguerite Bouvard

Feb. 25, 2013, 6:57 p.m.

Bless Dr. Rosenberg. the U.S. has a gun culture unlike any Western European country. Guns in a home with children are very dangerous and do not protect us. Children who are injured by guns are traumatized and do not have the help they need when they leave the hospital where they are treated.
AND the NRA buys votes. Why are members of Congress for sale?


You should know that all members of Congress are for sale, not just the ones you don’t like.

John Templeton

Feb. 25, 2013, 9:11 p.m.

Well what do you know, the good unbiased doctor is a registered Democrat who donated $$$ to Barney Frank in 2006.

The good doctor gave after Frank co-sponsored HR 1312 which called specifically for confiscation of weapons, even antiques (See Section 5, Repeal of Certain Exemptions)

Byard Pidgeon

Feb. 25, 2013, 9:49 p.m.

Oh, I don’t really have anything to add…I just want to get all the crazed comments that show up whenever the topic is “gun control”...for entertainment.

Byard Pidgeon thats too funny because it so true.

This conversation is getting so old its even losing the entertainment value.

Thank you for publishing this informative article.

DR Commish ~ The logic of your analogue fails in the examples you’ve chosen. Our military is the finest and most powerful in the world and its manned and unmanned air support provides defensive and offensive capabilities not available to the gunmen walking Chicago’s streets. You also fail to include deaths incurred by both sides involved in the Afghani war. Had you, your example would have been more like 200,000 dead, including 2,200 military and conservatively 198,000 civilian deaths, compared to Chicago’s 5,000.

Look to remedying the vast disparities present in our society between our rich and our poor and closing loopholes in our laws that allow a man like this to easily obtain weaponry of his choosing:

“Any sort of research is only going to result in your losing all your guns.” 

Don’t need no stinking facts that might impact our revenue.  30,000 deaths a year is acceptable… especially those suicides…those people are crazy anyway.

Fear…always a best seller…

John Henry Bicycle Lucas

Feb. 25, 2013, 10:52 p.m.

Dr. Rosenberg proves the point very well for the NRA. His comments about action to take based on the satistics proves this out. If he is going to do research, just crunch the numbers. Since there will be millions of our tax dollars thrown at research, I would like to see objective research and not slanted skewed numbers.

As for firearms in the home, the best thing is educate children about firearms and not just the pavlovian response that all guns are evil as taught in some of our education systems. After this indoctrination, students are then encouraged to join our military…go figure…

Growing up, I don’t remember a gun ever being unloaded and locked up. Dad told me that if I even looked at the gun case without permission, he would take a belt to me. He had already made a believer out of me, so I didn’t start using them until I was 14 or 15, without permission. My entire family was raised this way in the rural South. It’s a way of life. I’ve had guns pulled on me, I was almost shot once by my cousin in a hunting accident, but it was never the guns fault. No one cares about guns until some white kids get killed, but no one wants to do anything to control the massive killings of inner city black youth that happen every year. End the war on drugs, increase cops on the streets, increase penalties for crimes committed with a weapon and educate people on how to use handle guns. They aren’t scary, they are tools. I can promise you, as some one who grew up in an area with at least 3 guns per household (my estimate) the concentration of guns don’t increase the number of deaths, at least no in areas where people are taught to respect guns and, more importantly, respect each other.

Windsor Wilder

Feb. 26, 2013, 12:34 a.m.

If we don’t do something about greenhouse gasses then gun violence will be the least of our worries.  More like a blessing compared to slow starvation or wondering which neighbor stole your kid for the soup pot.  No, I don’t mean goats.

Effective social policy requires good data - attempting to work with a paucity of data often leads to making the situation worse. However, the problem here (I suspect) is that all groups with political clout who are concerned about legal ownership of firearms in the US believe that all other groups are cooking the data whenever possible.

Some of the preliminary conclusions Dr. Rosenberg mentions make sense, of course - people who have a firearm close at hand are probably more likely to succeed at suicide attempts but it’s almost certainly not the weapon that made the person suicidal. It’s also likely that a person who lives in an area where firearms are rare or absent is less likely to be shot by accident, but is that really any different than saying that someone who lives in an area with few cars is less likely to be run over?

As a scientist, I wish we had more data on all this and I would support any properly planned effort to acquire it, I just suspect it won’t happen.


Feb. 26, 2013, 1:12 a.m.

To all arguing in favor of guns and ‘the right to keep and bear arms’, guess why no other civilized western country has anywhere near as many gun related deaths per capita?

(Hint: It is unrelated to violent video games)

The fact that for Emeuricaaa ‘guns’ seem to include military automatic machine guns is beyond any rational and common sense.

The argument that people with guns are more likely to be killed by guns because they probably live in bad neighbourhood, is flawed. Since any concentration of good and law abiding citizens who happen to own a gun means they make the neighbourhood turn bad.

Guns facilitate suicide as the simple act of pulling a trigger is much ‘easier’ than cutting ones wrists and waiting to bleed to death. A suicide attempt is sometimes a cry for attention or help. A shotgun to the head doesn’t leave much chance of survival.

The comparison with few cars and less likely to be run over is also flawed. A car is a means of transportation of goods and persons. A firearm has one function : to fire bullets. A car has a vital economic role outside of large cities. Guns owned by civilians, not so much…


chuckd, what weapons do you own?

John Henry Bicycle Lucas

Feb. 26, 2013, 8:54 a.m.

Vincent, there are some breakdown on the numbers on firearm violence, but very basic. So, in a while there will be some new numbers. Ten million dollars worth. I would also like to see some real figures. I would hope to hear more from you on this issue.

Windsor, by the way, what gases are greenhouse gases?

Therestof the world, you do not understand the value of owning a firearm other than you think it fires bullets. So let me ask you this. Should law enforcement have guns?

chuckd, hey keep your firearm and defend yourself. You would rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6. My prayers are with you.

I am fortunate to live in a rural area by choice. I do not even lock my doors unless I leave for a few days. Then I ask my neighbor to watch my home for me. Everyone on this road owns firearms. Everyone knows it. We don’t get into each other’s business. If one of us needs help, all we have to do is go to the nearest neighbor, and help is there. The bad guys don’t venture out here very often.

We have the “Castle Doctorine” in this state that says our home is our castle, and we can defend it by any means including deadly force.

Our local law enforcement people are good people. They understand they are public servants. We have a healthy respect for each other.

ProPublica: Thanks for interviewing Rosenberg. If the NRA hadn’t pressured congress to de-fund the CDC research, we’d have a lot more data to work with. But what was accomplished was to point out what we all know and what Rosenberg stated: More guns in homes equal more deaths by guns - as much as 500% higher than homes without guns.

NRA supporters want us to to answer their “defense” (ive) question: How many deaths have been avoided through the use of guns to ward off attackers? Too bad the CDC hasn’t done the research to answer that - though it would require proving a negative, in that if no deaths result, there wouldn’t be a record of the incident unless it was reported. And the ability to make false reports to pad figures would be compelling to those who want to claim a statistical advantage. (I doubt the pro gun regulations folks would feel compelled to go around shooting people for the purpose of padding the already horrific death by gun statistics). 

We would know a lot more if we didn’t allow bullies to prevent us from finding out more about ourselves. But fear of the results is a strong motivator. Just as absolutist religious zealots want to debunk science in order to promote their theological agendas, the NRA really doesn’t want us to know the statistical realities of gun violence in our country.

Excellent article. I heard a special on NPR about this research team; since the gun debate has begun, yet again. Why can’t America do anything about this vile problem?


Feb. 26, 2013, 10:19 a.m.

John Henry Bicycle Lucas:

First, the right to bear firearms is directed towards civilians and it’s the gun ownership of civilians that is studied here. Asking wether police can carry firearms is thus a void question and is it is only affirming lack of understanding of your own (national) laws.

Second, the argument that you need to own firearms to protect your ‘castle’ from criminals bearing firearms is a viscious spiral and missing the point that the criminals got a hold of those firearms under the exact same laws.


Your creative use of the English language, which I assume is your native language, painfully enforces the stereotypical view of the complete lack of intelligence used in most pro-gun arguments.

Why can’t America do anything about this vile problem?  Because of the NRA and their hold on our politicians.  Lobbyist need to be banned from getting anywhere near politcians and our politicians need to be banned from taking their bribes.

Isn’t it interesting how often the word ‘Congress’ appears when there is research tied to organizations that execute strong lobbying (legalized bribery).

Case in point: the recent Time Magazine article on health care costs, and the fact that the lobbied Congress won’t allow negotiated prices for pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Organized crime.

Vincent K, JHBL, Tom Payne, RIGHT ON!!!

ChuckD, your angry comments don’t help the pro-gun cause.

Windsor…check out “Suspicious 0bservers” 2 min news on youtube. He has some good theories on whats going on with our planet.

I’ve come to the conclusion that USA has a gun culture unlike any other country because we have a CULTURE unlike any other country. We have much more Freedom, the majority of us are responsible with it. There will always be a few bad apples.

Demographics are very telling where most of this “gun violence” is taking place. The majority of this country are not effected by it. Only the rare mass shootings affect the majority - emotionally. Then time goes on, and they realize there actually is no danger of getting shot when going to school, the movies, and the mall.

“ROSENBERG: The first thing is that the rates of homicide fatalities, you asked about demographics. The rate of homicide fatalities from guns is eight to nine times as high for black males as it is for white males. So that part of our population really bears the brunt.

Mass killings - such as occurred in Aurora or outside of Milwaukee - are a very, very small proportion of all the gun deaths, but the rates are really not comparable in black and white populations. The second scientific fact here is that most gun deaths are suicides.”

The new research will only show more of this. Nothing gun owners or the NRA needs to really worry about as far as casting guns in a negative light, I look forward to the results. It will clarify a lot of things.

I do find it interesting that Rosenberg is ready to throw out those high percentages based on research that got funding cut off…did it get completed, or is that just the numbers they got before they stopped receiving money…...I’d like a link to this study.

Carolyn is ready to accept those numbers without question though! Then admits its a one sided argument because they can’t find a good way to measure how often a gun is used for protection (sometimes just the sight of one serves as protection). Interesting.

“ROSENBERG: Well, but you’re also trying to measure how many times people use their guns. If you assume that we want to measure the use of a gun by the number of people who get injured or shot, then it’s a tiny, tiny percentage. The gun owners probably number in the hundreds of millions in this country, but in terms of injuries that are reported, fatal and not fatal, we’re talking about less than 100,000.

However, many people also feel that they use their gun by showing it to ward off a threat against them or their household or someone in their home. And we can’t measure those. So part of it is we don’t have a great measure of how often guns are used for protection.”

Carolyn is also saying that the NRA magically knows more about gun violence and what the results of a study would be…but how could they accurately have any idea? They might have thought it would cast a negative light on guns, but they really don’t know anymore than you or me. I think they were more worried about slanted results the same way Carolyn thinks pro-gun supporters would attempt to slant them.  She has more in common with the NRA than she thought!

I stopped reading at the claim that a 20% relative risk would mean a ban for something.

The standard is 100%.

Clearly the writer knows very little, so why bother.

John Smith: Your statement that the USA has more “freedom” than any other country is incorrect. Inhabitants of countries such as Somalia, which have no governments to speak of, have far more freedom than we do here. They do whatever they please whenever they choose. The laws of the street, though, determines who lives or dies in these stateless countries.

Excluding the suicides you dismiss as being unimportant, we still by far have the highest rate of gun deaths than all other high income countries combined. These statistics deal only with homicide by gun rates. Instead of feeling their “freedoms” infringed on, citizens of these countries are generally horrified and constantly question us why we don’t do something about the gun carnage here.

Mass killings are horrific, but you are correct: They are a very small percentage of our entire rate of gun violence. Twenty children were killed during one “incident” in Newtown. It took another five weeks until another twenty children (ages ranging from 1 to 12) were killed by guns here. I’m guessing we can rule out suicide as being causal; and without any CDC statistics to back me up, I suspect irrational family members with a lack of impulse control would be at fault for the bulk of them. An additional 18 children’s gun deaths have occurred since these, giving us a total of 38 as of yesterday. (2/25/13)

You casually dismisses the NRA role in preventing further CDC research, citing worries about the possibility of slanted results. Pretty hard to alter the results of research based on hard data - which is why I DO rely on the CDC data which shows that people living in homes with guns are 300% more likely to die from firearm homicide, and are more than 500% more likely to commit suicide by gun. Facts are facts. No wonder the NRA wanted to pull the plug on funding.

You seem to hold firm to the inflexible position that any kind of gun regulations which include universal background checks, restricts the purchase and transfer of weapons to licensed dealers, holds gun owners more fully responsible for how those weapons are used, is an infringement of your “freedoms”. This means you and everyone else (including the “bad” guys) should have the rights to do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want, and with whatever weapons/ammunition you choose.

Those of us out here with a bit of common sense, who are actually concerned not only for our own welfare, but the welfare of our fellow Americans, disagree.

You can tell by the anger that a lot of those wanting unlimited weapons really are the kind who need to have access to them. I say this as a long time registered gun owner who passed a background check to have it legally.

Criminals do not get weapons by magic. They come from NRA types who do not secure them properly.

Those who argue against gun control by pointing out its failure to stop gun violence in Chicago are blind to the fact that the guns that kill Chicago’s citizens come from bordering states and communities with much more lax gun sales regulations and practices.
Effective regulation of sales has to be uniform across multiple jurisdictions in order to work.
Using Chicago as an example that regulations don’t work is like saying birth control doesn’t work because you know a woman who got pregnant; never mind the fact that she was not using birth control at all.
It is clear that the NRA finds that ignorance is bliss when it comes to putting out the real facts and numbers of how gun ownership actually affects all Americans. Why, when facts could only harm gun sales and encouraging gun sales is what the NRA is really about.

Based on the questions being asked in the research as stated by Dr. Rosenberg, there is already a serious bias against guns baked right in (called “selection bias”).

There’s no mention of these other important questions:

How many times has a gun been successfully used to prevent a crime?
How many lives have guns saved from criminals?
How many lives have guns saved from government-sponsored killing?

But because these are hard to measure AND because they are not in line with the gun-controllers’ political beliefs, they aren’t being asked. And so, NO research that the CDC could produce would truly be objective, truthful, and based on real-world inputs and outcomes.

Thus, the NRA is absolutely right to resist such research.

Dennis Chang, you do ask some “important” questions. Allow me to answer them for you:

**How many times has a gun been successfully used to prevent a crime?**

Fewer times than the number of accidental shooting deaths. Fewer times than the number of gun suicides. Fewer times than the number of gun deaths resulting from impassioned or deliberate firearm use.

**How many lives have guns saved from criminals?**

Fewer lives than those lost to accidental shootings. Fewer lives than those lost to gun suicides. Fewer lives than those lost to impassioned or deliberate firearm use.

**How many lives have guns saved from government-sponsored killing?**

In America? Zero.
In Syria? Well, guns might save the rebels from Assad’s troops if the rebels kill the troops first, but then, if the rebels weren’t rebelling, there wouldn’t be a war. So, given that there were no government pogroms prior to the rebellion, hence no killings, I call it a wash.

It’s not that these things are really that hard to measure. It’s actually that the incidents of “good” gun ownership and use, in which guns “save the day,” are absolutely miniscule when compared to the incidents when guns are used maliciously, foolishly, hastily, or irresponsibly to inflict bodily harm and cause death.

I’ve seen the a gun in home is x time more likely to whatever presented a number of different ways over the years. There are around 100,000 gun injuries/deaths/suicides, etc each year.  About 1/3 of Americans households contains at least 1 firearm (GSS data). There are about 114,000,000 households in the US (2010 Census Data) so 1/3 of 114 million is about 34.2 million.

If we assume that every single person injured or killed with a firearm had a gun in their home (that is a HUGE assumption) you still wind up with a .003% chance that a gun in your home will either kill someone in your home, injure them or cause them to commit suicide.

BTW, in 1996, when - I believe - the CDC funding was discontinued, the US had about 15,000 murders commited with a firearm. In 2011 it was about 8,500 (not including suicide).

So, if the CDC is going to study anything, maybe it should be “why are guns so safe?” Why do so few people get killed? Why have gun sales incensed while gun deaths have decreased?

Of course, the CDC should not be allowed to study anything to do with guns. The CDC needs to study potential pandemics and help prepare for the next SARS or Bird Flu outbreak that might actually do serious damage, instead of studying a minor, DECLINING issues like violent crime that is better left to police departments or - at most - the Justice Department.

The most specious comments are always pro gun, which leads me to say no wonder we keep killing each other at an astonishing rate. “It was never the gun’s fault” may be the stupidest winner.

John Henry Bicycle Lucas

Feb. 26, 2013, 9:51 p.m.

RestofTheWorld, I was in law enforcement for four years. I do understand why firearms are needed in the field. I also understand how our Constitution has been totally disreguarded by the Federal Government. My position is that if we allow any more of our rights to be taken away, we are a lost nation of people with no vision. Without vision, the people perish. The firearm is the ONLY right we have assured to us by the Bill Of Rights that we can actually hold in our hand and touch and feel. It is a tangable right.

RestofTheWorld, there is no reason to insult anyone. I am of the belief that education and intelligence are two very different concepts.

We as a nation, need to turn around this runaway concept of the government can do anything to us, and we just accept it like good little sheeple.

Why do you think the UN wants to control the internet? Along with our government? Free exchange of ideas is dangerous to the status quo. Our nation was born of such exchange of ideas.

Some of you do not quite understand, this issue of owning firearms is not just one issue, it is a group of issues. None of us law abiding gun owners want people that do not need to own a firearm to own one. Here is where the situation gets very grey. Who gets to own a firearm? Instant background checks already in place tell the seller of the firearm if the person standing in front of them with intentions of buying a firearm is eligeable to purchase any firearm. There are some gaps in the data, or so we are told in the news. This is not our doing, by owning a firearm, we followed the laws in place to purchase. The problem therein lies with law enforcement not communicating across jurisdictions.

Enforce the laws on the books already, there are plenty. Violent criminals do not care how many laws they encroach on when commiting a crime. Neither do oppresive governments.

MW, you seem to have all the answers to the data needed, just go present it to the government and collect your ten million dollars.

I, for one, as a gunowner would like to really see an objective study done.
Since the paymaster is going to control the study, I find it hard to believe that a truly objective study will be done.

For those of you that trust the government, go ahead. I for one, don’t. I can give you many reasons that I don’t.

carolyn “laws of the street” doesn’t sound like freedom. My point wasn’t complicated. The US has a very unique culture, our freedom is one reason, the diversity is another, etc….of course citizens of other countries don’t understand.

Well, trusting one source is hardly common sense. Neither is quoting non conclusive results from underfunded studies as fact.

If you trust the CDC so much, do you get all the vaccines they recommend without question?

The children dying is beyond very sad, unsuitable parents are the only ones to blame though…They didn’t deserve the blessing of a child in the first place and there are far too many examples of this, even ones that don’t end in a child’s death. More responsibility needs to be put on PARENTS, i’ve said this before…

You can assume whatever you want about me it doesn’t matter, but it is quite telling of the way you think.



Your argument about Chicago doesn’t hold up, we can’t regulate the countries that border us, so it would be the same problem just at the borders where we can’t even prevent illegal drugs from infiltrating.

Any resulting data from the studies will drive gun sales, even more so if it is negative. The NRA has congress on lock, nothing would change, and they will have another massive pay day similar to whats happening now.


MW how bout some citations to back those “answers” up?


Sara Devon, blaming an inanimate object is specious.

william readling

Feb. 26, 2013, 10:50 p.m.

Was the study controlled for the level of danger households were in?  The subject of the interview said that members of the firearm owning family were more likely to be shot.  He did not say if was the household’s firearm that was responsible.  If someone lives in a dangerous neighborhood, they are more likely to own a firearm. So the numbers for the firearm owners will be skewed higher.

Marc Rosenberg claims he was “trying to answer four questions,” when what he was really trying to do was to orchestrate “scientific” support for a predetermined agenda—the very definition of bad science.

In a 1993 interview with Rolling Stone, Rosenberg admitted (proudly) to pursuing “a long term campaign, similar to tobacco use and auto safety, to convince Americans that guns are, first and foremost, a public health menace.”  Way to put the conclusion before the research, Dr. Rosenberg.

This sort of phony, agenda-driven “science” is why Congress shut down the federal factoid factories’ “investigations” into gun violence when they did. The federal health establishment focused solely on the COSTS of gun ownership, completely overlooking any fair study of the BENEFITS of gun ownership in terms of self-defense and prevention of violent and property crimes.

Rosenberg is just seething because he can no longer guzzle pubic money to commit political advocacy… and that’s the way it should be.

I don’t get why there shouldn’t be any studies done. After all, if they find that there are safer ways to have guns, why not do those things?

Have lots and lots of studies, peer reviewed and criticized. Don’t just stop all studies altogether. That’s not going to help anyone.

certain statistics are obvious. the correlation between gun laws and chicago area deaths shows the ineffectiveness of their gun control legislation. then look at the incidence of black deaths vs. white deaths and once again the stats are obvious. ergo, keeping guns out of the hands of criminals (not saying blacks are all criminals) is the answer. so, figure out a way to do that.
if someone is crazy enough to shoot themselves, they are crazy enough to find another method to kill themselves. just because guns make it easier, ergo, they are most often used, is not an indication that suicides would go down if guns were not available.
home gun deaths i cannot comment on except to say that it seems to me carelessness may be the biggest problem.
disarming americans is not the answer, and no one has figured out a way to disarm the criminals. please work on that!

To John Henry Bicycle Lucas: You claim not to trust the government and how government does nothing positive for its citizens. However, you said that you are former law enforcement, so you were actually an agent of the government yourself. You trusted the government enough to give you a career, so why shouldn’t we trust it in other ways? Sounds like you are ignorant of the many positive things government can do for its citizens. Actions speak much louder than words, officer.

Robert R. Frump

Feb. 27, 2013, 5:45 p.m.

I’m not “pro gun” but let’s be real here.  “Gun science” on either side is interesting but not conclusive. See Academy of Science 2004 review.  What’s missing from Pro Publica’s reporting is the number of peer-reviewed criminology/sociology reports also mentioned in the 2004 Review. 

In terms of science, it is worth noting that the criminologists posted defenses of their work.  The public health studies did not.  The Academy more or less dismissed the public health studies as starting from a point of assumption that guns were like germs and the failure to consider the positive aspects of gun ownership poisoned any real meaning.

Strange as it may seem, doctors are not really scientists.

Interesting story.

BTW, Carolyn, if you by chance read this, please check out the following site and contact me.

The focus of the study already creates bias in the test results.  For example, if the CDC had done a study to determine whether having more kitchen knives in a house increases the likelihood of stabbings, it may come to the same conclusion.  Should we ban all kitchen knives then?  Picking any tool and focusing on whether those tools can be used irresponsibly ALWAYS yields a positive correlation.  From cars to computers to ball-point pens every tool can be shown to cause increases in rates of injury compared to an absence of those tools.  That’s just common sense.

The criminal element of this country will find guns one way or the other. no law will prevent that.
People that want to commit suicide will.  A gun is just very efficient in accomplishing that goal. There are knives in 100% of homes. no research to back this up but, the convoluted logic would dictate we ban knives and we would stop all suicides committed with a knife… really?  If someone want to kill themselves they will figure out how to do it with or without a gun.
The recently thwarted legislation that nearly passed in the night in New York could have started a revolution. Thankfully it did not pass but it is a sign that the government, well intended as they would like to appear, wants ‘to protect the citizens’, will not accomplish protecting them when and if the only ones with guns are the police and criminals.  There are not enough police to protect the millions of us that there are.
There is nothing but sadness in my heart for all the victims of random shootings, mass shootings, accidental deaths ....the list goes on and on….but one thing will always be true, if someone wants to inflict harm on another or on others, they will devise a way. 
The root of violence is in greed, envy, hatred, jealousy or or or… guns do not kill people kill.  if not a gun they will use a club or a knife or….

put good back in the schools, put God back in society, be good to one another, have parents who care about teaching right and wrong
good and bad, then we will start to see less violence.  Shame on the parents/elders in this country that do not speak up or do something when they see young people up to no good.  if they get away with it as a child they will continue to do it - what ever it is, until they are stopped.  live by the sword, die by the sword. 

Just remember everything you ever needed to know to get along in this world was taught to you by your kindergarten teacher.  think back to then - remember what you learned and put it into practice!  Sing the National Anthem at games…say the Pledge of Allegiance and remember what the words mean.

This is the greatest country on earth because of our freedoms.  Let us stay free and send the evil away…evil did not build this country . people helping people built this blessed place. - be nice to your neighbor and they will be nice to you.  but rest assured.  if you bring force against me or my family I will bring force against you… the nicest way i can…but i will not lay down my arms if you threaten me.

God Bless America

John Henry Bicycle Lucas

Feb. 27, 2013, 11:11 p.m.

Chris, I should have written Federal Government. Sorry, my mistake.
I do not trust the Fedral Government for many reasons. I won’t go into all of them now.

There is corruption in all governments, I know this very well from working within them. You would be surprised at what is hidden from the public eye of accountability. Law enforcement has not been my career for many years now.

Glenn C, very well said!

“The criminal element of this country will find guns one way or the other. no law will prevent that.”

Robyn Anderson, a friend of Klebold and Harris, bought three of the guns used at Columbine from The Tanner Gun Show in December of 1998 from unlicensed sellers. She refused to buy them from anyone else who might do a background check and leave her name on the paperwork.

James Holmes was under psychiatric care, and told his doctor that he fantasized about killing lots of people. Had a mental health reporting system been in place, Holmes could have been reported as a concern and as such denied during the background check when he later legally purchased two firearms for use in the Aurora theater shooting.

So. We have two major events that might have been stopped or ameliorated had we had adequate universal background checks.

And if no Columbine or Aurora, then perhaps no major media coverage and as such no Sandy Hook?

Gun safety and public awareness? Then perhaps the Lanza’s weapons might have been properly stored and secured, and again no Sandy Hook.

You’re right. Perhaps none of those would have helped. But I happen to believe that it’s better than not doing anything at all.

And if nothing else, perhaps the checks and anti-trafficking measures can help dry up the supply of guns bought elsewhere and brought into our cities.

Lots of people used to be killed by drunk drivers. But we enacted stricter blood alcohol limits, raised the drinking age, ramped up law enforcement and penalties, charged bartenders that served drunks and launched a huge public awareness campaign to stigmatize the dangerous behavior in question… and all of those things have reduced drunk driving deaths by over 2/3’s in just two decades.

In short, we did something about the problem. And not just one thing, but lots of things.

And you know what? People still seem to manage to drink and have a good time. Responsibly.

Why are guns any different? If you’re a responsible, law-abiding gun-owner, then undergoing a five-minute background check on the rare occasion the average person might have to buy or sell a weapon is little more than an inconvenience.

Why isn’t five minutes worth a kid’s life?

Rusty Shackleford

Feb. 27, 2013, 11:50 p.m.

““We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. Now it [sic] is dirty, deadly, and banned.”

Why wasn’t Rosenberg’s statement from 1994 above repeated in this interview?  Surely it is relevant considering the kind of “research” he is advocating and the clear and obvious position he has already taken prior to any sort of “research” he wants done?  Here is some research of mine:

Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, gun prohibitionists argued that with changing CCW laws and the so called “AWB” expiring, that crime would explode.  Sarah Brady and people with the same same views as the author all argued that it was just basic fact - more guns meant more crime and murder and crime would explode. 

However, as state after state has made it easy to carry concealed weapons since the late 90s, and as the AWB expired and millions upon millions of new guns and gunowners were created, the crime and murder rate has literally fallen in half in the last twenty years. 

Currently the FBI shows that in 2011 a whopping 323 people were linked to homicides with any form of rifle - yet the effort is on banning rifles.  Stabbings kill five times as many people, and twice as many people are beaten to death with fists.  At least 18 times as many people are killed with pistols, yet there is no cry to ban pistols from the same people who claim they are doing this just to save lives.  Even better, Joe Biden has urged people to use shotguns - yet they are involved in more homicides every year than rifles. 

Why were all of the gun banners so completely and terribly wrong with their predictions?  Why should we trust a word they say now that they were horribly wrong?  Why have they not explained how they could be so incorrect on such a basic premise that more guns meant more crime and murder?

rusty shackleford

Feb. 28, 2013, 12:10 a.m.

Just out of curiosity, how many of the people advocating banning guns here are also supporters of the Obama admin?  I would wager the percentage is very closely linked - which is certainly yet another in a long line of hypocritical behavior moments from gun prohibitionists.  If they are so concerned about violence against innocent people and children in particular, where has the outrage and discussion been about the Obama drone program? 

Or what about that Obama blew away a 16 year old US citizen?  Or that his lawyers have stated in federal court that they have the authority to indefinitely detain and/or assassinate any US citizen they deem to be “aiding terrorists” thanks to the NDAA that Obama made sure was rammed through.

Stanford did a study recently that concluded the Obama admin drone program kills 49 civilians or every one terrorist.  Gibbs has admitted that he was told by the Obama admin not to even discuss or admit the drone program existed, and an ambassador recently also stated that the conditions for a target was basically anyone who was an adult male. 

The same types crowing for banning guns now and demanding action have been reduced to completely ignoring the violence the obama admin has brought all over the world with drones against innocent people, or becoming blatant cheerleaders for it.  It is very hard for me to take seriously the claims of people who are supposedly so against violence while also supporting someone blowing away muslim civilians and what is estimated to be at least 179 children via drone strikes. 

I don’t even have to get into the Operation Gunwalker scandal in Mexico either that led to thousands of civilian deaths and at least one american LEO that Obama hid behind executive privilege to prevent certain people from testifying and documents from being released.  The ATF also just had a similar hilarious op in Wisconsin that involved real machine guns being given to drug dealers and gangs.  I guess the message from the Obama admin is that it trusts Mexican drug cartels, inner city drug gangs, and actual al queda terrorists in syria and libya with rifles more than he does american citizens. 

It seems to me that if there is going to be any research why not look at the implications of Obama’s drone war on civilians, including americans.  Or research on the drug war, where elderly and sick people have feds sent by obama with real assault rifles after them for the horrible crime of smoking pot. 

The problem is the same people supporting gun bans also are glorified cheerleaders for Obama’s assaults on basic civil liberties with the NDAA, assassinating US citizens or detaining them without charge or trial, patriot act, drug war, prosecuting whistleblowers at record levels, prosecuting reporters with a WWI era law at levels higher than all other admins combined, etc.  There is a term for that - fascism. 

Just letting all of you gun banners know where you are on the political side of the issues these days.

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