Bloomberg Course: Policies Based on Selective Evidence, Anti-Gun Preferences

Bloomberg Course: Policies Based on Selective Evidence, Anti-Gun Preferences

Gun Rights

Week Three of the Bloomberg School of Public Health Coursera program, “Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change,” seemingly promised some substance. This week’s module is titled “Evidence-Based Policies to Prevent Gun Violence” but the threshold for what qualifies as “evidence-based” is subjective. As in, the Bloomberg team selects what qualifies as evidence and what should just be done even in the absence of evidence. The presenters advocate for universal background checks, licenses or permits to purchase, and waiting periods. But, while pushing these measures, they admit that the evidence on the impact of background checks for private sales on gun homicides “has not found protective effects” and that “[t]he evidence of the impact on waiting periods on firearm homicide is inconclusive.” Those are actual quotes from this week’s lessons. The Bloomberg School staff claim that a waiting period allows law enforcement more time to complete a background check…but background checks don’t stop after the third day (when a dealer can choose to proceed with a sale if the person has not been denied). Law enforcement continues to investigate the buyer and, if necessary, retrieves the firearm in the event that a prohibited person took possession of a firearm before the background check was complete. Investigators have up to 90 days to compete a background check – that’s far more than any proposed waiting period. As we’ve pointed out repeatedly, so-called universal background checks would have no effect on criminals . Since “universal” background checks don’t work on […]

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