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Research on Gun Deaths and Injuries

Re “NRA Aims at the Messenger,” editorial, July 10:

The Times has erroneously blamed that convenient demon the NRA for the House of Representatives’ move to trim funding from the Centers for Disease Control’s gun research. But the National Rifle Assn. has never presented testimony to Congress on this matter.

In fact it was two national physician groups (Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership and Doctors for Integrity in Policy Research) that testified in Congress for cutting the CDC’s funds for gun research. Also testifying for stopping the CDC’s biased gun research were a medical journal editor and a nationally known criminology scholar.

Your article did not mention the anti-gun pamphlet the CDC paid for with tax dollars, or the stated intention of the CDC’s chief gun researcher, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, to convince Americans that guns are “dirty, deadly and banned.”

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We doctors (not the NRA) showed the House subcommittee hard evidence of the CDC’s effort to push a political agenda of gun control. The CDC is guilty of science abuse and taxpayer abuse. And the Congress is rightly setting about fixing it.

TIMOTHY WHEELER MD

Project Director, Doctors for

Responsible Gun Ownership

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Upland

* The number of handgun deaths used in the editorial is incorrect. In 1994 there were 39,720 deaths from all guns, more than 18,000 from handguns. Whatever figure you use, it is an epidemic that has created a public health crisis and produced spiraling health costs.

Not all costs come from those who die. The average cost of medical treatment for one hospitalized gunshot-wound patient is $33,000, and we, as taxpayers, foot 80% of that bill. Gun violence is consuming our personal and government resources and filling our lives with fear. Building prisons may give some temporary sense of relief but does not prevent tomorrow’s problems.

The Centers for Disease Control deserves continued funding. We need more, not less, research to learn how to prevent gun violence. As a taxpayer I want my dollars to go to federal programs that save lives and reduce health care costs. Even NRA members cannot disagree that reducing the cost of gun violence on our public health system is not only sensible but essential.

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ANN REISS LANE, Chair

Women Against Gun Violence

Los Angeles

* The figure $2.6 million is just a little bit more than 1/10 of 1% of a total budget for the CDC of $2.2 billion, rather than a bit more than 1% as was represented in the editorial. One percent would have been $26 million, not $2.6 million.

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HEYWOOD SOBEL

Los Angeles


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