Doctor Donates $1M to Keep Gun Research Alive

Congress cuts off money, so Garen Wintemute dips into his own pockets

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 22, 2014 4:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – The CDC currently allocates $0 toward research into gun-violence prevention, notes ProPublica, and one such researcher at UC Davis has taken extraordinary steps to remedy the situation. Dr. Garen Wintemute has so far donated $1.1 million of his own money to keep his own research alive at the university's Violence Prevention Research Program. Wintemute, who estimates that he is one of maybe 12 researchers in the nation who focus full-time on the subject, says some of the money comes from a business founded by his late father, and some from his personal stash. "It boils down to this," he tells the news agency. "I earn an ER doc's salary. I lead a very simple life. I'm not married, I don't have kids, I don't have a television. My rent is $840 a month. It's easy to save. I don't drive a fancy car. I don't go out to eat."

The NRA opposes Wintemute's work and accuses him of bias, but Wintemute says he takes no money from advocacy groups of any kind. He notes that he once authored a study suggesting that gun shows played little role in the nation's gun violence, a finding that displeased mainstream gun-control advocates. One of his current policy proposals is to forbid anyone with DUI convictions from owning firearms in California. The measure cleared the legislature last year but got vetoed by the governor, and Wintemute is doing more research into the issue. Click to read the full story, or to read an earlier profile of Wintemute in Nature.

  (Shutterstock)
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