Sunday, March 10, 2013

Junk Research Is Still Junk Research

Mayor Bloomberg and his Illegal Mayors are touting a story about a "study" that ostensibly shows states with the most gun control have fewer "gun-related deaths".

The story in USA Today highlights a study put out by Dr. Eric Fleegler, Boston Children's Hospital, and Harvard University. Part of the study team was notoriously anti-gun David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health. The study used data from the CDC's Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) database and from the Brady Campaign. Yes, you read that right, the Brady Campaign. They included both homicides and suicides in their population of "firearms-related deaths". 

As hard as they tried, they only found an "association" and not any causal relationship between firearms laws and the deaths.
The study also found that laws requiring universal background checks and permits to purchase firearms were most clearly associated with decreasing rates of gun-related homicides and suicides.

Despite the findings, researchers did not establish a cause and effect relationship between guns and deaths. Rather, they could only establish an association.
You know your research has a problem when even Garen Wintemute criticizes it.
That failure illustrates the limits of the study, said Garen Wintemute, an emergency physician and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis.

"Policy makers can really draw no conclusion from this study," Wintemute said, explaining that the study doesn't provide critical answers to which laws work and why.
And what is the answer that both Wintemute and the authors of the Boston Children's Hospital study push? More money to do anti-gun research. There was a reason that Congress limited the CDC's budget on firearms research and junk research was at the heart of it.


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