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Sep 05 2016
by Hannah Holzer

UC Davis Launches Firearm Violence Research Center

By Hannah Holzer - Sep 05 2016

In 2016 alone, the estimated number of gun-related deaths is just under 10,000. In addition to the almost 10,000 people killed, 20,171 people have had their lives change just this year because of injuries they have acquired due to injuries sustained from a gun. Although the crime rate in the U.S. has decreased in the past 15 years, the rate of fatalities sustained from guns has remained near constant.

Gun violence is an issue which seems to be at the forefront of modern politics, and soon it will be at the forefront of a new research center at the University of California at Davis. This will be the first research facility in the state to examine the subject.

The center will be funded by a $5 million grant which was approved by the California Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown – the grant will provide adequate funding for five years.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the center’s first research project will collect data on who owns firearms and how they use them.

However, the idea of funding a center such as this one was not met with overwhelming support.

“We lobbied (and) talked to members of the Legislature,” Sam Paredes, the executive director of the Gun Owners of California told The Bee. “I testified at every committee hearing. We are fighting entrenched people who do not like guns and want to find any justification to control guns. We aren’t at all against research. We are concerned when research is done with a predetermined outcome and when research is so obviously colored in one direction.”

Garen Wintemute, who will oversee the new Firearm Violence Research Center and who has studied the subject since the 1980s, said that the research center will solely focus on the data they collect and that the studies will not be influenced by political leanings.

Wintemute has been working on the violence prevention research project for almost 30 years at UC Davis – a project he put over a million dollars of his personal money into – and the Firearm Violence Research Center will be a kind of continuation of his existing data.

Although the research center will be groundbreaking for the state of California, schools such as Johns Hopkins and Harvard University have opened similar facilities. Harvard’s Firearm Research, which is a segment of their Injury Control Research Center, has been the first to research such topics as the number of firearms on college campuses and boasts that they have aided in increasing knowledge about firearms. And Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research has been and continues to be involved in such issues as gun trafficking, keeping guns from youth and domestic violence and guns. 

Lead Image Credit: ktackett; Kim Tackett via Flickr Commons

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Hannah Holzer - UC Davis

Soon-to-be UC Davis freshman, journalist, film enthusiast & baker extraordinaire.

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