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Federal Gun Datasets Being Preserved in Fear Feds Will Withdraw Them

Wired reports today that research data on guns and violence have been suppressed in the past and that researchers are working to ensure that similar data on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are not lost if the Trump administration withdraws them.

Garen Wintemute, an epidemiologist and the director of the Violence Prevention Research Program, reports that he and his team are downloading gun-related data he uses every day: lists of gun licensees, retailers, and manufacturers; gun tracing data; firearm-related death and injury numbers sorted by categories like race, location, or age. The story quotes Wintemute:

This wasn’t just alarmism. “I’ve been through it before,” says Wintemute. During the Clinton years and early in George W. Bush’s presidency, he worked with a group of academics who partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to study the inner working of criminal gun markets. “We had the reports ready for 2001 and 2002, but their publication was suppressed,” says Wintemute. “We were ordered to destroy our copies of the documents.”

The data that Wintemute downloaded is stored on a secure server at UC Davis.

In 1966, Congress stripped funding for for gun violence research from the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Also in 1996, Congressed pass a law 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”.

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