Among the 23 “executive actions” President Obama announced yesterday amidst great fanfare (and shameless exploitation of children) is this:
“Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.”
Obama may want to put a hold on that one, until he comes to grips with what happened the last time a U.S. president tried it.
During the late ’70s, President Jimmy Carter and his inner circle determined to push through comprehensive new federal gun-control legislation. They decided the best way to grease the congressional skids would be to have a massive scientific study conducted which, in the end, would proclaim that gun-control laws were effective in reducing crime.
So the Carter folks handed out a major gun-control research grant to University of Massachusetts sociology professor James D. Wright and his colleagues Peter Rossi and Kathleen Daly. They spent four years and lots of tax dollars to produce what would be the most comprehensive, critical study of gun control ever undertaken. In 1981, they published the results of their research – an exhaustive, three-volume work titled “Under the Gun.”
Title: Under the Gun - Weapons, Crime, and Violence in America
Author(s): J D Wright ; P H Rossi ; K Daly
Corporate Author: University of Massachusetts Social and Demographic Research Institute United States
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 348
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice US Dept Justice Office of Justice Programs United States US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub United States
The text looks at the number of guns in private hands and their use (household demand, sport and recreation demand), as well as police weapons use and policy. Fear of crime and popular sentiment against gun ownership are also surveyed. The book explores the characteristics of private weapons owners by region and city size, social status (class, religion, race, and sex), personality, and other factors. The text also looks at violent crime trends, the number of firearms used in crime, criminal motivations, gun control policies (Federal, State, and local regulations), and the effects of gun control legislation on violent crime. The study finds that high crime rates could be caused by widespread gun ownership but that widespread gun ownership may help keep crime rates well below what they might be otherwise. There is no good evidence anywhere that would allow a researcher to choose decisively between these possibilities. Data tables, footnotes, over 200 references, and an index are supplied.