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Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Study Indicates Available Gun Violence Data Doesn’t Show the Full Picture

The Journal of Behavioral Medicine has published its first special issue dedicated to gun violence, featuring research on gun violence data from professor, Dr. Lori Ann Post, director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy & Economics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The special issue was created in response to a National Rifle Association tweet telling doctors who speak out about gun violence to “stay in their lane.

Dr. Post said the study she co-authored, “Bolstering Gun Injury Surveillance Accuracy Using Capture-Recapture Methods,” starts at square one of the issue — getting accurate data on gun violence.

The study was co-authored by Dr. Zev Balsen and Dr. Federico E. Vaca of Yale University as well as Dr. Richard Spano of the University of New Haven.

Dr. Post said there have been federal limits on gun research for decades and as a result, there are bills sitting in Congress and bills that have been passed that are often uninformed due to a lack of gun violence research.

“We actually do not know the prevalence of gun shootings,” Professor Post said. “My research demonstrates that to answer that question, we would need to look into several data archives such as emergency medical services (EMS), emergency departments, medical examiners, police records and even media reports. No single source accounts for all gun shootings.”

The Buehler Center for Health Policy & Economics is housed within the Northwestern University Institute for Public Health and Medicine.

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