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August 2, 2000

Tracing the Brady Act's Connection With Homicide and Suicide Trends

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St Louis.

JAMA. 2000;284(5):616-618. doi:10.1001/jama.284.5.616

Given the ideological rhetoric that too often passes for "fact" in debates over the regulation of firearms in the United States, we should be encouraged by innovative evaluations of current or proposed policy interventions in this area. Although political considerations will always play a prominent role in policy development, politics that has to contend with the results of good science should produce better policy than politics based on poor science or none at all. Accordingly, the question is whether the article in this issue of THE JOURNAL by Ludwig and Cook1 evaluating the 1994 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act—the most important national policy initiative related to firearms in over 2 decades—is good science. If so, what are its implications for current policy? If not, what lessons might it contain for improving scientific assessments of the Brady Act and other health-related public policies?

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