The Institute of Medicine of the National Academics appealed to the government to improve data collection on guns and gun-related violence.
In line with the gun violence that happened in Newtown, Conn. last year, the panel urges the government to act immediately. The panel sent a report to President Obama titled Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence detailing the existing policies since 1990s which were vainly implemented due to the Republicans’ intrusion in the Congress. The report in this article is just a summary but the panel has a 120-page report that will be given to the research team once the government approves their proposal.
The report presented evidences on how firearm-related violence is already considered a public health issue and how the government can help in lowering the risk and protect the citizens from the incidents similar to the Connecticut shooting.
Public health researchers were glad that the panel made a report such as this as it may help them start their study. The researchers have been enduring the pain of data gathering as the government doesn’t have much data to cross reference and gun owners are not that participative when it comes to reporting. They don’t even have an exact number of the people who have guns.
The public health researchers attempted to gather data before using the National Violent Death Reporting System, maintained by the CDC which compiles reports from police and medical examiners, but the numbers were so small that it will not be sufficient for accurate conclusions.
In addition, the complete report has further details such as the reason for buying guns, the demographics of the gun owners, the age limit of gun ownership, and the possible threat of owning one.
“Basic information about gun possession, distribution, ownership, acquisition and storage is lacking. Without good data, it is virtually impossible to answer fundamental questions," about gun violence, or to evaluate programs intended to reduce that violence,” told chairman of the panel Alan I. Leshner to New York Times when asked about their intention for proactively gathering the data.
The panel clarified that they are not expecting the government to create a national gun registry since it is against the law but they hope to see improvement on the progress of research supported by the government.
This makes sense because if the panel is able to gather their own data, why would the government say it is difficult to do so?