Firearm Data Collection for Research Bill

SF2726/HF2891, the Firearm Data Collection for Research bill (Murphy/Klein). Gun violence kills more Minnesotans that either opioid abuse or motor vehicle accidents, yet current state law prohibits the Minnesota Department of health from collecting vital data about it. The most recent firearm-related injury study on the Minnesota Department of Health’s violence and injury prevention website is dated 2002. Gun deaths in Minnesota have increased over 30% since then.

Data is the foundation of research, and law makers rely on research to create sound policies that protect Minnesotans. The National Academy of Sciences has noted that inadequate data and inadequate access to existing data are among the most critical barriers to understanding gun violence. Because of the current prohibition on data collection, we lack:

• basic data on gun ownership, storage, use and markets;

• access to gun-tracing data that can help illuminate the pathway from manufacture to criminal use;

• reliable, valid data that would clarify the protective, defensive and deterrent effects of firearms.

The Murphy/Klein bill amends Minnesota’s current firearms statute by adding the phrase “except for the purpose of public health research or epidemiologic investigation” to the passage prohibiting data collection by the Minnesota Department of Health. It also requires that the data be “de-identified” to prevent a person’s identity from being connected with information and ensuring that all personally identifiable information has been removed.