Another day, another mass shooting, and we find ourselves scrambling to find solutions. But which of the many proposals out there will actually lower gun violence?

Does knowing that someone in a store might be armed deter a criminal from opening fire with an AR-15? Does a five-day waiting period stop mentally ill individuals from purchasing a gun?

Would an assault-style weapon ban (as enacted in Connecticut, for example) be ineffective in stopping mass shootings, as purported by those trying to overturn that law? Which, if any, of the laws Congress rejected just after Orlando would deter gun violence?

The answer is: We don’t know, because the research has not been done.

Congress put the kibosh on serious, well-funded gun violence research in the 1990s, and continues to block President Obama’s requests for research funding. Studies have been slow and piecemeal, and efforts have been hampered by young scientists avoiding this line of research because they can’t support themselves.

But responsible, peer-reviewed research is, over time, apolitical because it is self-correcting. And knowing what actually would and would not work, in the fight to stem gun violence, would help both sides in this argument by pushing past opinion and rhetoric to real solutions based in actual fact – solutions that would both preserve the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners and protect the general public from another one of these sickening mass shootings.

When he was a congressman, Republican Jay Dickey of Arkansas co-sponsored the original amendment that dried up Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding on gun violence research.

He now thinks “that scientific research should be conducted into preventing firearm injuries and that ways to prevent firearm deaths can be found without encroaching on the rights of legitimate gun owners.” It’s time to let the truth come out.

R. Aileen Yingst

Brunswick