One of the key challenges in debating gun safety is a lack of concrete information on the impacts and causes of gun violence, driven, in large part, by a nearly two-decades-long ban on funding Centers for Disease Control research into the topic. As a result, the conversation often turns anecdotal and ideological, and leads to serious misconceptions including scapegoating mentally ill people as more likely to be violent than the rest of the population, a belief Stacey Schultz debunked in her May story on the Café Racer shootings.
It doesn’t matter where you land on the gun control spectrum—an evidence-based understanding of the patterns, impact and public health cost of gun-related “unintentional” deaths, suicide and homicide is critical for good public policy. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama ended the CDC ban on gun research and today, the Seattle City Council is expected to approve $153,000 for research into gun violence as a public health issue—reportedly making Seattle the first city to directly fund this sort of research. Good on ya, Seattle!
Maybe this development will resurrect the Ghost of Gun Control’s Past—as remembered and celebrated by beloved Seattle animator/illustrator Drew Christie in an Op-Doc at The New York Times in April 2013.