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The perceptions of gun owners recently described in The Free Lance-Star were interesting to read ["Who we are series: Faces behind the firearms," Feb. 17-18].
Commonly, gun ownership is equated with a feeling of protection and safety. With more than 30,000 deaths per year from firearms you would expect numerous studies to determine specific causes and to consider ways to reduce these deaths.
In 1993 the New England Journal of Medicine reported a CDC study that concluded that ready access to guns in the home increases, rather than reduces, a family's risk of homicide in the home.
In 1996 pro-gun members of the House of Representatives subsequently removed $2.6 million from the CDC budget, the exact amount allotted to study firearm injury the previous year. Studies were specifically prohibited if the results "may be used to advocate or promote gun control." No further CDC firearm studies were reported.
In 2009 the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported a case-control study to see if carrying a gun is associated with an increase or decrease in the likelihood of being shot in an assault. Individuals possessing a gun were more than four times more likely to be shot in an assault than an unarmed individual.
In 2011 Congress extended CDC restrictions addressing firearm studies to all Department of Health and Human Services agencies.
Amazingly, since 1997 more than 400,000 people have since died of gunshot wounds. And yet Congress has consistently acted to prevent studies that could result in ways to reduce the number of these tragic deaths.
Is it possible that even in view of the Sandy Hook massacre, Congress would continue to block further studies of gun-related deaths? What will it take for Congress to act responsibly?