NRA Shoots Down CDC Gun Studies

Researchers on gun-related injuries hope that reining in studies on the association between guns and violence will douse the fury of the National Rifle Association.Although firearms are the second-leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 10 and 24, an Atlanta branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently decided to stop actively soliciting grant proposals to study firearms. Since 1985, the NRA has goaded Congress to slash funding for the CDC's National Center for Injury and Prevention and Control because the center produced statistics on the risks of guns."We are not pulling out of our firearm research altogether," says Mary Ann Fenley, CDC spokesperson. "But we have a great deal of pressure from the NRA which doesn't appreciate the type of research we do. We can't say we aren't concerned about that pressure."The center plans to funnel the portion of its $46 million which normally funds studies on gun injuries towards researching other causes of violence such as crowded housing or unemployment."I'd like to believe it when I see it," says Tom Wyde, NRA spokesperson. "Our interest is in their recklessly biased research."Bridling the center's gun violence studies does not prevent researchers from submitting proposals in the area of suicide, where guns often play a leading role. "There are more suicides in the country than homicides," says Fenley. In 1994, about 32,000 Americans committed suicide while 23,000 died from homicide. Households with guns are five times more likely to have a suicide, says Fenley. And, she says, firearms are the leading method for committing suicide.

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