Remember 1996, when you were dancing to La Macarena and you didn’t yet know how much you were going to love Cardi B, Maluma or maybe J Balvin?
That same year Congress passed legislation to take away money for gun research in the United States. It’s still in effect today.
The Dickey Amendment allows federal agencies to conduct gun research but funds are not provided if the research advocates or promotes gun control.
Very little research has been conducted on gun violence in the US since you were dancing to La Macarena, making it difficult to implement gun reform.
Gun violence affects different populations based on age, gender, ethnicity and/or location. But it is difficult to arrive at a conclusion without hard data.
For this reason, California has committed $5 million dollars to launch the first state-funded gun violence research center.
The University of California Firearm Violence Prevention Research Center launched last year. The center will collect “basic information, including the rate of gun ownership, the rate of exposure to gun violence and risk factors for being shot.”
Gun violence has a real impact on Latinxs.
“Homicide is the second leading cause of death for Hispanics ages 15 to 24.” According to the Violence Policy Center about 54,000 Hispanics have died from gun violence in the United States from 1999 to 2015.
Overall gun related deaths have dropped in California, especially for black and Hispanic males. However, gun related deaths have increased in rural areas.
Researchers at UC Davis’ Violence Prevention Research Program found that the decrease of gun homicides in California cities, particularly in Los Angeles, has been linked to a decrease in gang violence. They also noticed an increase in gun suicides among whites in rural California.
The research at UC Davis, although informative, is still very limited. According to the Violence Policy Center, “the true scale of gun violence’s effect on Hispanic men, women, and children is not fully known.”
According to the Washington Post, “more than 212,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine.” Gun reform requires a wide range of initiatives and strong leadership from youth like Emma González who initiated #NeverAgain movement and actions like the March for Our Lives.