New Research: Survey on the views on gun control by academic criminologists, economists, and public health researchers

Dec 14, 2019 | Featured

Harvard’s Arthur Berg, Simon Fraser University’s Gary Mauser, and the CPRC’s John Lott surveyed academics who have published peer-reviewed empirical research on gun control issues in the just published latest issue of Regulation. A pdf is available to be downloaded here. The first paragraph in the piece starts this way:

Academics from different fields vary widely in their views on the effectiveness of gun control. Our results indicate that public health researchers are much more supportive of gun control than are either criminologists or economists. They are also much more opposed to deregulation. Economists, by contrast, are the most skeptical of new regulations and the most supportive of deregulation. The different groups of researchers also provide very different rankings of effectiveness when asked to rate different policies.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being put into public health research on gun control. Between 2015 and 2018, the federal government invested $43.2 million in firearms research, with 89% coming from the National Institute of Health. Congressional Democrats are pushing to include $50 million in Centers for Disease Control funding for additional gun research in the next federal budget. Some state governments are also putting millions of dollars into firearms research that consists exclusively of public health studies. Even larger amounts of funding are going to public health researchers from private sources. Yet the disparity in answers from our public health researchers on one hand, and our criminologists and economists on the other, raises questions about devoting so much money to only public health research into guns.

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1 Comment

  1. Max Dane

    Doctors as a group seem to have a problem with guns, or at least other people owning guns. I don’t know if this is part of the medical school curriculum or is that authoritarians gravitate toward medical school, but doctors, like schoolteachers, have an invasive nosiness toward other people’s lives. These are also two groups that rank high in gun control sentiments, though it may be that that is only part of their general control sentiment. I’ll pay attention to doctors for gun control as soon as they reduced death by medical misadventure to the level of death by firearm, even including suicides.
    Death by medical misadventure should actually be compared to accidental homicides since it’s reasonable to believe that these doctors didn’t intend to kill their victims.