Our spokesman, Craig DeLuz, took on anti-gun researchers on last night’s evening news.
UC Davis has been selected to begin a gun violence research center, which will be the first of its kind in the country in nearly 20 years.
University of California President Janet Napolitano announced the campus selection Monday for the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center.
The center will be under the direction of Garen Wintemute, who has directed the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis Medical Center for 25 years.
“We don’t know how common is firearm ownership in California? What are the benefits? Lots of people own guns, they don’t do it for nothing,” Wintemute said. “There is an individual right to keep and bear arms for specific purposes. I would argue that there is also an individual and collective civil right to live in a free and safe society. We need to balance those rights.”
The Centers for Disease Control stopped researching gun violence prevention in 1997 after Congress pulled funding, in what is known as the “Dickey Amendment” for then-Rep. Jay Dickey, a Republican from Arkansas.
“The state’s decision to provide public funding for a center to study firearm violence — the first of its kind in the nation — demonstrates great leadership by the state and presents a unique opportunity for the University of California to be at the forefront of researching a growing public health issue,” Napolitano said in a statement.
The state Legislature approved funding for the center in June, allocating $5 million over the course of five years.
“One of the key missing elements is just the basic information on firearm violence in California that people need in order to understand the problem and do things to prevent it,” Wintemute said. “The ‘who, what, when and where’ of firearm violence. The last time anybody did that for California was 1987. (It) hasn’t been done since. It’s been 29 years (and) I know that because I am the person who did it.”
The Firearm Policy Coalition is against the new center.
“The Firearms Policy Coalition is, first and foremost, a civil rights organization,” spokesperson Craig DeLuz said. “We see the right to keep and bear arms as important as the right to free speech, freedom of religion and due process rights and private property rights. It’s important to understand that as we allow our government to undermine any one of our civil rights, all of our civil rights are in danger.”
“We are not against research at all, but research has to be objective,” DeLuz said. “Treating firearms or firearm violence like a disease is completely wrong because it removes the component of human behavior.”
DeLuz fears the research will become a slippery slope to more gun control legislation.
“From the very beginning, it’s been about fabricating statistics to support their already predetermined conclusion, which was increasing laws and gun control,” DeLuz said. “All that it’s going to do is disarm the good guys.”
Read more here.