Local gun control research depends on public donations - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Local gun control research depends on public donations

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As the debate over gun control continues in Washington, A UAB researcher wants to more closely study gun policy and gun culture. It would expand a previous study that found comprehensive background checks are associated with fewer homicides and suicides. The only problem is funding.

The president called on the Centers for Disease Control to provide funding for such studies back in January. Right now sequestration is  part of the problem. 

But, UAB researcher Bisahka Sen says a wrench was thrown in her research long before  it even began. With support from the National Rifle Association, congressional leaders cut funding to the CDC, which used to give money to studies on gun violence. That was seventeen years ago, and federal money that kind of research has been missing ever since.

She found a way around that and turned to the internet and the generosity of others. It's called  crowd funding, done through the website microryza.com 

Her goal is to raise twenty-five thousand dollars to continue her research on the affects of gun control policies. She has already raised more than eighteen-thousand dollars. Sen the first UAB researcher to try this method of funding.

"The research is really sparse and that's really a tragedy because a lot of things keep on going on. States keep on tweaking their gun policies. They make it easy to have guns in some cases, more difficult to have guns in some cases," said Sen.

Sen only has two days left to reach her goal of twenty-two thousand dollars. Much of the donation has come from the Birmingham community, and some from UAB colleagues. But she also has dozens of donors from all over the world.

A father of one of the children who survived the Sandy Hook shooting donated money as well. She has been in touch with that father.

She says her research is not biased based on politics. She just wants to see which state policies work and which ones don't.

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