Why Democratic Leadership Wants Public Health Officials to Do Gun Research

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posted on January 10, 2020
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Photo courtesy of Torange.biz under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0.

Perhaps you missed this new study from the Crime Prevention Research Center. That wouldn’t be surprising, as it’s not the kind of topic that stirs the mainstream media—or even the alternative media for that matter.

Still, it offers a big reveal.

It found that criminologists and economists are much less supportive of gun control than public-health researchers.

This explains why so many on the anti-Second Amendment front want to steer lots more of our money to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for research on violence related to guns instead of to agencies within the criminal justice system.

The paper was done by three researchers, John R. Lott, the founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and Prevention; Arther Z. Berg, M.D., who is with the Harvard University Department of Psychiatry; and Gary A. Mauser, who is with the Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business.

These three researchers compared “the views of public health researchers with those of criminologists and economists on a wide range of gun control policies.”

They found that when asked about the best ways to stop mass-murderers, criminologists and economists preferred:

  1. Allow K-12 teachers to carry concealed handguns
  2. Allow military personnel to carry on military bases
  3. Encourage the elimination of gun-free zones
  4. Relax federal regulations that pressure companies to create gun-free zones


Public-health researchers, however, preferred stricter gun-control laws. “Their top policy choice,” said the report, “was barring gun sales to people deemed dangerous by a mental health provider.”

“The public health researchers’ second through fourth top-ranked policies,” said Lott, Mauser and Berg was “banning magazines that can hold more than 10 bullets, banning semi-automatic guns and prohibiting assault weapons.”

Like the opinion writer in USA Today who is “terrified” of average Americans carrying their firearms, this survey found that public-health researchers were mostly afraid of normal Americans who legally utilize their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Perhaps, given their career choice, the criminologists are simply more aware of the fact that, statistically speaking, people with concealed-carry permits basically don’t commit crimes.

But then there’s the politics.

Not long before this paper was published, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to provide $25 million for research on “gun violence” to the National Institutes of Health and the CDC.

Many in the mainstream media applauded this allocation of funds. As they did, many in the media pushed the false narrative that public research into the causes of violence with firearms isn’t being done.

Actually, this research from Lott, Mauser and Berg found that the federal government spent $43.2 million on firearms-related research between 2015 and 2018. The report also says that state governments are “putting millions of dollars into firearms research that consists exclusively of public health studies.”

What’s really happening here is that the current House leadership wants medical professionals to use the same tools and methodology they’ve developed to study heart disease, cancer and more to study gun violence. If they can get gun violence treated as a virus or disease, they can then argue that we need to reduce the risk factors (in this case gun ownership) to control the problem.

This is why this study from Lott, Mauser and Berg is so interesting. Instead of earmarking the money for criminologists to study these crimes, Democratic leadership in the House wants public-health workers, who are much more in favor of gun-control policies than criminologists, to get the money so they can produce research that will push for more gun control.

This research from Lott, Mauser and Berg concludes by making the point that “the disparity in answers from our public health researchers on one hand, and our criminologists and economists on the other, raises questions about devoting so much money to public health research into guns.”

Though it would be much more sensible to fund researchers who specialize in studying crime to look for solutions to crime, instead of those who study disease, the Democratic leadership in Congress isn’t actually seeking solutions. They are looking for ways to get their preferred policy prescription: more gun control.

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