Op-ed columnist Michelle Gillett writes on February 5, "There has been a freeze on gun violence research ever since the Centers for Disease Control began moving forward in studying it as a public health problem 17 years ago." This statement is misleading and implies that the CDC does not study the role of gun violence.
The CDC provides comprehensive tables for mortality in 2009, including granular data on gun deaths. The study lists firearm homicides, suicides, legal intervention (police activity), and accidents. "Deaths: Final Data for 2009, Table 10" which lists all deaths by age groups, puts the actual numbers of firearm related deaths in perspective. What is disturbing about the numbers is not how many occur which is smaller than poisoning, falls, and vehicular deaths, but that the vast majority of those deaths are in poor urban areas and are a result of crime and unscrupulous firearm sales. Converting the CDC into a political player may win support for the current administration, but at the cost of its credibility.
Our administration hopes to find CDC support for broad and unconstitutional firearm restrictions, and yet the bulk of the victims who are the inner city poor remains ignored. Those peoples’ need for improved law enforcement requires the hard labor of research, resources, and urban policy and remains neglected since it fails to capture media attention or fuel our politicians’ rhetoric.