Gun violence researchers to Biden Commission: Remove political barriers; make federal investment

University_of_Chicago_Modern_Etched_Seal_1.svgLast week, more than 100 scholars in crime, medicine, public health, economics and public policy signed a letter addressed from the University of Chicago Crime Lab to Vice President Joe Biden and his Gun Violence Commission:

“The tragedy of gun violence is compounded by the fact that the usual methods for addressing a public health and safety threat of this magnitude—collection of basic data, scientific inquiry, policy formation, policy analysis and rigorous evaluation—are, because of politically-motivated constraints, extremely difficult in the area of firearm research.”

The letter adds that that while mortality rates from almost every major cause of death declined dramatically over the past half century, the homicide rate in America today is almost exactly the same as it was in 1950, now costing America approximately $100 billion per year.

The letter makes two recommentations:

RECOMMENDATION ONE: We call for the removal of the current barriers to firearm-related research, policy formation, evaluation and enforcement efforts.
RECOMMENDATION TWO: We call on the federal government to make direct investments in unbiased scientific research and data infrastructure.

Read the letter for details: University of Chicago Crime Lab

According to their web site: The University of Chicago Crime Lab seeks to improve our understanding of how to reduce crime and violence by helping government agencies and non-profit organizations rigorously evaluate new pilot programs.

UPDATE: Signatories included 24 professors from the University of Pennsylvania, accordong to a report from dp.com: Penn profs urge Biden to free up funds for gun violence research

Philadelphia Police investigate a double homicide in Philadelphia in 2007. Photograph by Joseph Kaczmarek.

Philadelphia Police investigate a double homicide in Philadelphia in 2007. Photograph by Joseph Kaczmarek of the GunCrisis Reporting Project.

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