Can New Gun Violence Research Find a Path Around the Political Stalemate?

Can New Gun Violence Research Find a Path Around the Political Stalemate?

WASHINGTON — Dr. Bindi J. Naik-Mathuria, a pediatric trauma surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital who grew tired of seeing toddlers die of gunshot wounds, has a $684,000 federal grant to track every gun-related death and injury in Houston. The goal: identify and address “hot spots” the way epidemiologists track and contain the coronavirus. Dr. Garen J. Wintemute, an emergency room doctor and longtime firearm violence researcher in California, is supervising scientific research on whether community interventions in Detroit and Cleveland — including the greening of vacant spaces and the work of so-called violence interrupters like former gang members — can drive down gun-related deaths and injuries. And Andrew R. Morral, a behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation, a research group, is using sophisticated modeling tools to estimate rates of gun ownership in every state, with detailed demographic information. The purpose, he said, is to search for patterns in firearm homicides and suicides — a first, basic step in research that could lead to reducing them. The recent mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., have once again left Democrats and Republicans in a stalemate over background checks for gun buyers and assault weapons bans. But public health experts say a new round of research could pave the way for gun policies that avoid partisan gridlock — and ultimately save thousands of lives. The studies by Dr. Naik-Mathuria and the others are being paid for by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is once again funding research into […]

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