posted by avenger in Politics

How the NRA hamstrings research on gun related crimes

January 10, 2013

Since the 1990s, the powerful pro-gun NRA has targeted the heart of what most legislation is based on: studies about the effects of gun violence.

Last year, the NRA used its influence in Florida to push through legislation that would punish doctors if they asked patients whether they owned a gun.

And buried inside President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation is a little-known provision that prevents the government and health insurers from asking about gun ownership.

"If gun control groups ... (and) individuals want to further their research, we're not saying they shouldn't be able to do it," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN. "We're just saying they shouldn't be using public funds to do it."

But public health experts say it's all part of an attempt by the NRA-led pro-gun lobby to hamstring lawmakers. "If a bunch of people do research and generate solid evidence that suggests firearms policy should be reformed and either firearms or people who used them should be regulated in new ways, (if I'm a gun-rights advocate,) I'm not going to like that," said Dr. Garen Wintemute, head of the violence prevention research program at the University of California at Davis. "So, I'll simply prevent the evidence from being collected in the first place. It's a brilliant strategy, and (the gun lobby) succeeded."

This was the strategy the tobacco companies should have used. You don't have to waste time and money denying the research, just spent it on preventing the research from happening.

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