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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