Bill Would Fund Gun Violence Research Center at UC

A bill in the California Legislature asks the UC Board of Regents to establish the Firearm Violence Research Center. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

The University of California could put a bigger focus on gun violence research if a bill in the state Legislature is successful. It passed the Senate Education Committee today.

The measure from Sen. Lois Wolk would ask UC to establish a Firearm Violence Research Center. The Davis Democrat is proposing the state give $5 million over five years to help get the center started.

“The numbers of people who are injured and killed each year is just appalling,” she says. “And research can point the way to better policies to reduce or eliminate perhaps some of them.”

Pediatrician Lindsey Harms says research on prevention could help her treat and advise patients.

“I’ve seen patients in the juvenile hall setting who have gun violence more prevalent in their families than they do heart disease,” she says. “Who think that two shots to the abdomen is more common than a heart attack.”

But some pro-gun groups say they’re concerned researchers will have an anti-gun basis. Sam Paredes is with Gun Owners of California.

“We are not afraid of honest, good research,” he says. “What we are concerned with is that information that is put out as research that is invalid.”

The NRA’s California liaison, Ed Worley, has similar concerns. He says the proposed research center could be biased.

“Our concern is that there are people in the ‘research industry’ out here in California that already have predetermined things that they want to do with their research,” he says. “And that is not science.”

Congress currently restricts federal spending on gun violence research.

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Author

Katie Orr

Katie Orr is a Sacramento-based reporter for KQED's Politics and Government  Desk, covering the state Capitol and a variety of issues including women in politics, voting and elections and legislation. Prior to joining KQED in 2016, Katie was state government reporter for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. She's also worked for KPBS in San Diego, where she covered City Hall.

Katie received her masters degree in political science from San Diego State University and holds a Bachelors degree in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University.

In 2015 Katie won a national Clarion Award for a series of stories she did on women in California politics. She's been honored by the Society for Professional Journalists and, in 2013, was named by The Washington Post as one of the country's top state Capitol reporters.   She's also reported for the award-winning documentary series The View from Here and was part of the team that won  national PRNDI and  Gabriel Awards in 2015. She lives in Sacramento with her husband. Twitter: @1KatieOrr

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