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Compared to other wealthy nations around the world, the rate of gun deaths in the U.S. is pretty off the charts. So why isn’t there more government-funded research about the problem, the way there is for other major public health crises? It all comes down to politics.
As political issues go, gun control is definitely a doozie. Few topics get Americans as riled up. But no matter where you stand, most of us can at least agree on this: that gun violence claims the lives of too many innocent people in this country, and actions should be taken to reduce the number of people killed.
What those actions should be, though, is where things get murky. Gun rights advocates argue that owning a gun is not only a fundamental constitutional right, it’s also essential for protection. The more armed, law-abiding citizens there are, the safer we’ll be. But those pushing for stricter gun control insist that more guns inevitably lead to more violence, and the best way to tackle the issue is by restricting access to firearms.
So what’s the answer? It is tougher gun laws? Is it arming more teachers? Part of the problem is there’s just not enough research on the issue to come up with definitive solutions for how to most effectively deal the problem.
What do public health researchers want to know more about?