January 19, 2005
Nat'l Research Council Publishes "Firearms and Violence"
Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review (2004), Charles F. Wellford, John V. Pepper, and Carol V. Petrie, Editors, Committee on Law and Justice, National Research Council
Description: "For years proposals for gun control and the ownership of firearms have been among the most contentious issues in American politics. For public authorities to make reasonable decisions on these matters, they must take into account facts about the relationship between guns and violence as well as conflicting constitutional claims and divided public opinion. In performing these tasks, legislators need adequate data and research to judge both the effects of firearms on violence and the effects of different violence control policies.
Readers of the research literature on firearms may sometimes find themselves unable to distinguish scholarship from advocacy. Given the importance of this issue, there is a pressing need for a clear and unbiased assessment of the existing portfolio of data and research. Firearms and Violence uses conventional standards of science to examine three major themes - firearms and violence, the quality of research, and the quality of data available. The book assesses the strengths and limitations of current databases, examining current research studies on firearm use and the efforts to reduce unjustified firearm use and suggests ways in which they can be improved."
In a Nutshell: "The role of guns in U.S. society is a subject of intense policy debate and disagreement. However, current research and data on firearms and violent crime are too weak to support strong conclusions about the effects of various measures to prevent and control gun violence, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council. A comprehensive research program on firearms is needed if criminal-justice and crime-prevention policy is to have a sound basis.
Some of today's most pressing policy issues in this area cannot be tackled with existing data and research methods, which are weak, the report says. For example:
- There is no credible evidence that "right-to-carry" laws, which allow qualified adults to carry concealed handguns, either decrease or increase violent crime. To date, 34 states have enacted these laws.
- There is almost no evidence that violence-prevention programs intended to steer children away from guns have had any effects on their behavior, knowledge, or attitudes regarding firearms. More than 80 such programs exist.
- Research has found associations between gun availability and suicide with guns, but it does not show whether such associations reveal genuine patterns of cause and effect."
Source of summary: Data on firearms and violence too weak to settle policy debates
File under "More Research Needed."
Hardback 0-309-09124-1 $43.16 (place order on the web)
PDF Book 0-309-54640-0 $32.50
Read online for free.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Nat'l Research Council Publishes "Firearms and Violence":