To the editor:
I appreciated Fred McGinnis’ letter (March 1) relating his impressions of Norwegian attitudes toward gun control after visiting some friends and relatives there.
While some might question Capt. McGinnis characterizing attitudes towards guns held by “the average Norwegian” based just on these anecdotes, this is unfortunately what we’re left with by the NRA and its supporters in Congress.
Starting in the early '90s, the NRA saw an increasing interest in rigorous, statistically-valid research on guns and their effects in society. One would think that anyone interested in guns would support research like this - after all, if it’s true, as Captain McGinnis says in his letter and many gun owners believe, that armed bystanders present at a shooting will often stop the gunman, the research will support that.
If it’s true that having a gun in your home reduces your family’s chance of being a victim of gun violence, rather than increasing it, the research will show that as well.
But interestingly, the NRA doesn’t want any of that research done - and so has directed its minions in Congress to explicitly write into funding bills a ban on spending any money on gun violence research.
So we are left with anecdotes relayed by Capt. McGinnis and others like him to understand the impact of guns in society. I thank Capt. McGinnis for his contributions to this field of research.
And for the rest of us — perhaps a note to Congressman Kilmer calling on him to push for overruling the NRA and restoring funding for gun violence research might be our own contributions to the field.