Let me start right at the top — gun control laws save lives. These laws prevent firearms mortality, either murder, accidents, or suicide. Gun control laws should always be considered a public health issue in the USA. There have been several good epidemiological studies that have examined whether gun control regulations and firearms mortality risk are related – and the results are surprisingly robust and repeated.
From recent epidemiological research, there is some convincing evidence that establishes a correlation between state-level gun control regulations and firearms mortality rates. However, the link is not as black and white as one might wish – the relationship between gun control regulations and mortality depends on the quality of the laws. In other words, good science seems to show that gun control laws save lives.
Historically, the nation’s leading public health organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is essentially prevented from analyzing and publishing any epidemiological research that would help us understand what, if any, links there are between gun control and firearms mortality. However, things are changing, probably because of what has been happening lately, and the CDC is funding research into firearms mortality.
Previously, because the CDC could not fund research into gun control, there has been a chilling effect on gun control research in academia. According to the Washington Post, “young academics were warned that joining the field was a good way to kill their careers. And the odd gun study that got published went through linguistic gymnastics to hide any connection to firearms.”
But maybe because this public health menace can no longer be ignored, a smattering of well-done epidemiological research is being published in very high-quality medical journals. Let’s look at one.Continue reading “Gun control laws and firearms mortality – a public health imperative”