We know that research, data, and even just numbers can help us to solve gun violence. It isn’t a difficult thing to understand; any issue that impacts a large number of people is inherently easier to work on when we know all of the facts. But the gun lobby seems to distrust and dislike any sort of data. That’s why they’ve fought against federal research funding for years. But, just as local governments have led the way before, they can lead the way again with research.
And that is why a program in Seattle is so important. You see, the city knows that gun violence takes a massive toll on the city, physically, emotionally, and financially. Not just that, but the city wants to know why and what they can do about it. That will cost money though.
To raise the needed money, the city plans to impose a small fee on gun and ammunition purchases within the city limits, and has passed a law to that effect. Makes sense, right? Not so fast, says they gun lobby. We don’t want that, they say, and we surely don’t want gun and ammunition sales to help pay for research and interventions into the havoc and damage wrought by guns and ammunition. We’d guess they are afraid it would hurt their bottom line too much. They are so afraid that they sued the city to stop the law.
On Friday, a judge will decide on motions in that case, including one to put the fee on hold. But yesterday, The Seattle Times, the city’s largest and most influential paper, published an editorial about the issues. And they took the reasonable stance: gun violence is a major public health issue in the city, public health issues deserve and need research, and the proposed fee is a rational and common-sense way to make sure that research gets funding. We’re tempted to strongly agree. After, why in the world would anyone be against figuring out how to help stop gun violence? Why would anyone be against research and data? We guess that, for the lobbyists at the NRA, Second Amendment Foundation, and National Shooting Sports Foundation, fear is a powerful motivator.