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Gun control needs independent research to progress

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Pradyot Sharma

Variety Editor

The aftermath of the Parkland School shooting has reignited the gun control debate. Both Republicans and Democrats are unwilling to budge from their positions to find a bipartisan solution to gun violence.

Republican legislators have specifically spoken out against gun control as a solution, saying there is no proof that it reduces gun violence. This claim is ironic considering that the Dickey Amendment passed in 1996 prevents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from using any of its funds to research on measures that could lead to the implementation of gun control.

No matter what side of this debate you are on, it is an undeniable fact that there is a problem with gun-related deaths. American lives are being lost, and firearms are part of the equation.

The question that needs to be addressed is to what degree guns serve as a catalyst. Institutions conducting evidence-based research can help find a solution.

In a conversation dominated by youth, I believe it is the independent institutes led by universities across this country that can work toward finding any viable solution to gun violence.

Recent independent research conducted by the Rand Corp. has shown that there is limited research on gun violence in the United States. To draw a comparison, we spend approximately $1,000 per life lost in a motor vehicle accident. The figures for gun-related deaths is $63 spent per life.

Universities have historically been stewards of human progress. Research led by these institutions tackles issues across the sciences and has contributed vastly to solving many sociological issues in our time.

These academic institutions can serve as neutral grounds to see what solutions can be made to fix the gun epidemic in this country.

Congress also needs to re-evaluate the Dickey Amendment that limits a government institution with the easiest access to data to help solve this problem. These government organizations are the best source of data for most researchers, and curbing them will hamper progress in any research field.

Gun control isn’t a straightforward issue with a black-and-white solution. Solving the gun problem doesn’t need to be limited to improving the registry or culminating in banning weapons.

Critics have argued that most gun-related deaths involve unregistered weapons, and thus it is an issue the national registry cannot tackle.

This issue is just an example of why research is needed in this area to solve micro issues and to build a more viable solution. Research in this field can also be extended to guns and mental health issues.

This wide-ranging issue that has divided the nation needs unity across academic fields to find a solution.