Guns in the Medical Literature -- A Failure of Peer Review

by Edgar A. Suter MD

Doctors for Integrity in Research & Public Policy
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Errors of fact, design, and interpretation abound in the medical literature on guns and violence. The peer review process has failed to prevent publication of the errors of politicized, results-oriented research. Most of the data on guns and violence are available in the criminological, legal, and social sciences literature, yet escapes acknowledgment or analysis of the medical literature. Lobbyists and other partisans continue to promulgate the fallacies that cloud the public debate and impede the development of effective strategies to reduce violence in our society. This article examines a representative sample of politicized and incompetent research.

Next Section -- Introduction, Contents


Publication note:

"Guns in the Medical Literature: A Failure of Peer Review" appeared in the March 1994 Journal Of The Medical Association Of Georgia, 83(13). The version presented here is from a January 1994 draft and contains some material that did not appear in JMAG.

Graphs 1-5, 10-13 and 16-18 were scanned by John Grossbohlin ( from the JMAG version. Note that the legend in graph 3 has been corrected in the scan: the labels for the two curves were reversed in the printed version. Graphs 6-9, 14 and 15 were scanned (using fax) from the January version by Jeff Chan, who also restored the title in Graph 16. Graphs are numbered differently in JMAG.

HTML and scan conversions by Jeff Chan (