Expert Panel Aims to Stem Gun Violence by Improving Data
If the United States ever hopes to enjoy a society free from the scourge of gun violence, the first step is creating an objective, transparent, and accessible firearms data infrastructure. That’s the message from a panel of experts who took part in a recent virtual event funded by Arnold Ventures and hosted by NORC, the Data Foundation, and the National Prevention Science Coalition. The event comprised two panel discussions, the first on the role of data in 21st century policymaking and the second on gaps in the U.S. firearms data infrastructure.
“Any reasoned debate on firearms policy requires a widely shared set of facts. Unfortunately, a lack of objective and transparent data infrastructure has made it all too difficult to assemble those facts. These reports and this convening developed concrete recommendations to move in the right direction and assemble the vital information necessary for sound policymaking to improve public safety.”
Currently, there is no national- or state-level plan for gathering and disseminating data on firearms use and injury. Data collected by federal agencies are limited, not well documented, and hard to access. And without comprehensive, accessible data, policymakers can’t develop effective responses to gun violence. Panel recommendations include creating a nonfatal firearms injury database, increasing the quality and availability of firearms data for research and policy, and building local and state capacity to use data for evidence-based decision-making. NORC published detailed recommendations in a series of concept papers based on its 2020 A Blueprint for a U.S. Firearms Data Infrastructure.
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