by: David Ham Updated:SEATTLE —
Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess is leading the charge to get the city to spend $370,000 on a study that would look at the safety of guns in the hands of alcoholics, drug addicts and the mentally ill.
"This will be, we believe, the first study of its kind in the United States to look at city and county data," said Burgess.
The $370,000 cost of the study includes $153,000 for Public Gun Safety Research and another $217,500 for Enhanced Mental Health Emergency Response research.
But Paul Guppy of the Washington Policy Center said the study is a complete waste of money.
"I think it's unnecessary. As a researcher myself, I think 'what do they expect to learn that they can't find out already from existing research?'" said Guppy.
Burgess argued it's not a waste of money. He said that he believes the research can lead to meaningful reform.
"It might lead to legislation about gun safety and storage or trigger locks. It might lead to new protocols of how medical experts respond to individuals who have a high propensity to violence," said Burgess.
Commissioning the study has already been approved by a committee in the Seattle City Council.
The full council will vote on the action May 20.
If the study is approved, Burgess said he expects the research will be finished by the end of the year.