Seattle, WA – Our left-leaning friends on the east coast are looking to make Seattle the first U.S. city to fund gun violence research.
Seattle seeks to become the first city in the nation to provide direct funding for research into the causes and effects of gun violence, reports NBC News. The move is partially inspired by a 17-year congressional ban on federally-funded studies of firearm use. Seattle City Council members say that they could raise up to $153,000 for the cause as quickly as next month.
“It will have significance in the fact that it’s a city doing it, not a state or a federal agency,” said Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess, who has championed the cause. “It’s our statement against what Congress has prohibited for 17 or 18 years now. Shame on them for that.”
The proposal is expected to be approved in April. If so, it will fund the analysis of large public data sets that look at the relationships between substance abuse, mental illness, gun ownership, hospital injury admissions, and deaths.
“One of the big needs right now is that there’s still a lack of data on the problems of gun violence,” said one researcher. “One of the things that’s come up in this whole discussion of guns is mental illness and substance abuse. We’re planning to link existing data sets to identify that if you have these problems, what are the risks of having gun problems in the future?”
The hope is that the information will allow the targeting of high-risk patients, with officials then intervening in an attempt to prevent gun harm.
According to the CDC, roughly 32,000 people die every year from gun violence in the U.S., with Seattle coming in at 3.6 gun murders per 100,000 citizens between 2006 and 2007. The national rate is roughly 4.6 gun-related homicides per 100,000.
“I believe that cities often lead the way on new policy and initiatives that spread to states, then spread to federal government,” said Burgess.
But the plan is not without its opponents. Dave Workman, a senior editor at Gun Week magazine and a spokesman for a Bellevue-area gun rights group, warns that the research will be tailored to suit a liberal political agenda.
“What you’re talking about is a clever way to make a study with a pre-conceived conclusion that will say guns are bad,” Workman said. “I’m sure there are better uses for that money.”
What do you think? Should the government take a more active role in gun violence research? Can Seattle lead the way? Should they? Sound off!