Clinton-inspired federal firearms study is being financed by anti-gun groups

Clinton-inspired federal firearms study is being financed by anti-gun groups

Inside NRA

“It can only suggest to us that [the NRC] has pre-determined a finding that firearms have no place in the community and that they-not individuals– cause and are responsible for criminal violence in America.”

The National Academy of Sciences, through its agency the National Research Council (NRC), has launched a study titled “Improving Research Information and Data on Firearms.” Set in motion by the Clinton Administration and sponsored by anti-gun organizations, the study is set to report its findings sometime in 2003.

The study’s stated goals are to: “assess the existing research and data on firearm violence; consider how to credibly evaluate the various prevention, intervention and control strategies; describe and develop models of illegal firearms markets; and examine the complex ways in which firearms may become embedded in the community.”

The NRC panel conducting the study met for the first time in September, and an NRA Institute for Legislative Action staff member testified before the group. NRA– ILA has also questioned the study’s scope in comments filed with the NRC’s study director. With respect to the “embedded in the community” language, NRA-ILA Executive Director James Jay Baker wrote:

“There is no question that the vast majority of the 200 million firearms in America are legally purchased and owned by law-abiding citizens for purposes of self-defense and recreation.

“Given that no one questions the fact that only a miniscule number of firearms are ever involved in violence andthat violence occurs most often in the absence of firearms, this stated goal is curious at best. It can only suggest to us that your effort has pre-determined a finding that firearms have no place in the community and that they-not individuals-cause and are responsible for criminal violence in America.

“It is astounding that you, as an advisor to the United States Congress, would even consider conducting this study under the sponsorship of organizations and foundations with long and well documented public records of working in opposition to the private ownership, use and possession of firearms by responsible, law-abiding American citizens. We refer specifically to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Joyce Foundation and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.”

The Joyce Foundation has contributed generously to the Violence Policy Center, a radical anti-gun group that seeks to ban the private ownership of handguns. The David & Lucile Packard Foundation last year awarded $3,550,000 over three years to the Million Mom March Foundation whose anti-gun agenda recently allowed it to merge comfortably with the gun– ban organization known best as Handgun Control, Inc.

As for the CDC, its well-documented record of funding shoddy anti-gun research through its National Center for Injury Prevention and Control is so flagrant that Congress, since 1997, has seen fit to annually restrict CDC funding in order “to prohibit the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control from engaging in any activities to advocate or promote gun control.”

NRA and others are troubled that while the goals of the study speak of “control strategies,” no mention whatsoever is made of research on the protective benefits of firearms. Will the NRC panel ignore programs and strategies to improve public safety by encouraging gun ownership? Will it ignore firearm safety education? And what about evaluating right-to-carry laws?

NRA is also concerned about the objectivity of the NRC panel, excluding, as it does, all scholars who have been critical of gun control. The panel includes one member-Benjamin Civiletti, attorney general under Jimmy Carter-who has no academic credentials, but who did sign an erroneous statement published in the October 3, 1992 Washington Post, stating that “the federal courts have unanimously determined that the Second Amendment concerns only the arming of the people in service to an organized state militia.”

John Lott, now with the American Enterprise Institute, shares NRA’s concerns about the panel. Lott, who has conducted exhaustive research on the effects of laws allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms, notes that: “Two years ago, 294 academics from the nation’s finest universities signed an open letter on gun control asking that Congress `before enacting yet more new laws … investigate whether many of the existing laws may have contributed to the problems we currently face.’ These academics concluded that `new legislation is ill-advised.’Yet not a single one of them was included on the National Academy of Sciences panel.”

It has been written that studies funded by the CDC focus on the presence or absence of guns, rather than on the characteristics of the extreme aberrants who misuse them. The same likely will be said of this National Research Council study.


Joseph Padovano, Yerington, NV (from: Margaret Padovano); Alfred Smith, San Francisco, CA (from: Helen Smith); John Wodetzki, Lincoln, IL (from: Luella Wodetzki); Harold Anderson, Arlington, WA, (from: Theresa Anderson); Greg Landis, Ft. Ashby, WV (from: Janet M. Landis); William Couch, Milton, FL (from: Barbara J. Couch); Mike Oglesby, Ozona, TX (from: Sally Oglesby); Paul Pinkas, Owings Mills, MD (from: Mary Pinkas); Robert Feldmiller, Careywood, ID (from: Dorothy Feldmiller); James J. Taylor, (from: James S. Taylor); Robert Barkus, Fostoria, MI (from: Donald Barkus); Floyd Ritchey, Everett, PA (from: Lucille Ritchey & Tim Ritchey), Robert C. Jobst, Fairland, OK (from: Margaret Bowen); Matthew Biniarz, Hamburg, NY (from: Frank Panasuk); Harry Woodin, Fenville, MI (from: David & Susan Goodman); Marvin Grover, Manistique, MI (from: Gail Bennett, Virginia Bennett & Robert Males); William “Bill” Marky, (from: Harold Kantrud); Lee Martin Robinson, Perrysville, OH (from: Bruce & Kathy Castor); William Evans, (from: Nancy Mitchell); Lester P. Bailey, Jr., Divide, CO (from: Robert & Jane Peck); James “Jim” Marquis, (from: Ronald & Norma Kennemer); Herbert Oberst & Donald Truman, (from: Sandusky County Sportsman’s Club).


(The following have contributed $1,000 or more to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action during July 1-31, 2001.)

Richard Hansen, Grandville, MI; Dave Howe, Tampa, FL; Marvine L. Lince, Tualatin, OR; Brookland Club, Inc., Ulysses, PA; Stratford Gun Collectors Assn, Stafford, CT; Tennessee Gun Collectors Assn, Nashville, TN.

Copyright National Rifle Association of America Nov 2001

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