The National Academy of Sciences has identified several significant gaps in policy-relevant gun violence research, but this research has been shut down for what I consider to be political purposes. As a result, usable data is almost impossible to come by. Federal law bars the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from keeping track of guns and their ownership records until after a weapon is used in a crime. This makes it very difficult to trace the source of weapons used in crimes and prevents researchers from getting valuable information about trends.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has done a study of grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health from 1973 to 2012. The results: There have been 400 cases of cholera in the U.S. during those years. Research grants on cholera: 212. Diphtheria: 1,337 cases, research grants: 56. Polio: 266 cases, research grants: 129. Rabies: 65 cases, research grants: 89. Firearm deaths and injuries: 4 million. Research grants: Three.
We can't make progress at reducing firearm violence without facts based on research, facts which political pressure has made nearly impossible to obtain. Congress has to act to overcome this censorship. Will that happen?