SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

January 19, 2013

Order could restart gun violence studies

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Nearly as many Americans die from guns as from car crashes each year. We know plenty about the second problem and far less about the first. A scarcity of research on how to prevent gun violence has left policymakers shooting in the dark as they craft gun control measures without much evidence of what works.

That could change with President Barack Obama’s order Wednesday to ease research restrictions pushed through long ago by the gun lobby. The White House declared that a 1996 law banning use of money to “advocate or promote gun control” should not keep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies from doing any work on the topic.

Obama can only do so much, though. Several experts say Congress will have to be on board before anything much changes, especially when it comes to spending money.

How severely have the restrictions affected the CDC?

Its website’s A-to-Z list of health topics, which includes such obscure ones as Rift Valley fever, does not include guns or firearms. Searching the site for “guns” brings up dozens of reports on nail gun and BB gun injuries.

The restrictions have done damage “without a doubt” and the CDC has been “overly cautious” about interpreting them, said Daniel Webster, director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“The law is so vague it puts a virtual freeze on gun violence research,” said a statement from Michael Halpern of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s like censorship: When people don’t know what’s prohibited, they assume everything is prohibited.”

Many have called for a public health approach to gun violence like the highway safety measures, product changes and driving laws that slashed deaths from car crashes decades ago even as the number of vehicles on the road rose.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Keenan to resign to take Salem State job

    SALEM — State Rep. John Keenan said Tuesday he will resign from office Aug. 24 to take a new job as vice president of administration at Salem State University.
    His announcement ended months of speculation about where the five-term Democrat would end up after leaving the Legislature. As it turns out, he is leaving four months before his term would have expired.

    July 29, 2014

  • Chism attorney challenging legislation

    DANVERS -- The attorney for the Danvers teen charged with raping and murdering his math teacher last October is arguing that the 1996 state law requiring that he be tried as an adult is unconstitutional. The argument by Philip Chism's attorney comes

    July 30, 2014

  • 140729_SN_DLE_PATROL4 Party problems persist in Point SALEM -- 'Tis the season for parties in the Point. Three years after a large Fourth of July gathering in the densely inhabited neighborhood led to a violent confrontation between partygoers and police, Chief Paul Tucker says his department continues

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • lottery.jpg 'Lucky' Salem store sells $15M lottery ticket

    SALEM -- An anonymous person used a trust to claim a $15 million grand prize Tuesday from a $30 scratch ticket bought at a local corner store. It is the largest instant "scratch and win" prize ever in the state's history. Nicole's Food Store at 406

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • shelter2 Ipswich Animal shelter is looking to expand

    IPSWICH -- Dogs and cats living together -- well, it's easier when you've got the space. And that's exactly what the Ipswich Animal Shelter is hoping to get by expanding their facility on Fowler's Lane. Also in the mix is an understanding of animal

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos