Posted by | January 27, 2011 10:35 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

To most of us, the answer to the above question is obvious: looser gun control rules cost lives.  The NRA argues differently.  Surely they must believe their arguments that people are safer when everyone is armed, right?  So then why would they fight the funding of studies to examine the relationship between firearms and mortality rates?

The amount of money available today for studying the impact of firearms is a fraction of what it was in the mid-1990s, and the number of scientists toiling in the field has dwindled to just a handful as a result, researchers say.

The dearth of money can be traced in large measure to a clash between public health scientists and the N.R.A. in the mid-1990s.

When two sides are arguing about a question that could be resolved by empirical studies, here’s a clue to which one is right. The one that’s in favor of studying the issue!  What was true of cigarette companies and the effects of tobacco in the 1960s and industrial polluters and the health impacts of pollution over the past few decades is true of the NRA and guns today.  The side that resists getting answers is the side that is afraid of them.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.