The debate about how best to prevent mass shootings in schools is in full swing. It is fascinating to observe the impressive variety of concepts presented. As society tries to move forward on issues of gun control on one hand versus arming teachers on the other, it would be wise to keep a couple of facts in mind.

First, it is a sad reality that the vast majority of children killed in this country die at home, and that assault-style weapons are not involved.

Second, making factual statements about gun-related deaths in this country is severely hampered by a lack of good scientific research. That appears to be the result of the Dickey Amendment to the federal omnibus spending bill of 1996. That provision had the effect of virtually eliminating the Center for Disease Control’s ability to research gun-related health issues. The pertinent lines in the budget read: “That in addition to amounts provided herein, up to $48,400,000 shall be available … to carry out the National Center for Health Statistics surveys: Provided further, that none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

All concerned citizens should promote a bipartisan effort to fund research into gun violence because, without it, elected officials are all working in the dark, speculating and imagining the best actions rather than using science to guide the engagement with this national dilemma.

Greg D’Augustine, Greene


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