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The National Research Council, Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2005, $47.95, pp 328. ISBN 0309091241
A committee of the National Research Council in the United States was charged with providing an assessment of the strengths and limitations of the existing research and data on gun violence. In December 2004, the committee issued its final report, in book form. The book contains nine chapters, and five appendices, on such topics as firearms data, patterns of firearm violence, self-defense gun use, right-to-carry laws, firearms and suicide, and criminal justice interventions.
The committee consisted of 15 highly respected scientists—experts in economics, criminology, epidemiology, statistics, sociology, psychiatry, psychology, and public policy. By design, they were not experts on firearms issues. Unfortunately, none were injury control professionals, and few have worked directly in the public health field.
Nonetheless, injury control professionals can fully support the committee’s major recommendation that “the federal government needs to support a systematic program of data collection and research” (p 3) to give policymakers a solid empirical and research base for decisions about …