Seattle gun violence study: A life-saving plan or waste of money?

SEATTLE - City leaders in Seattle want to be the first in the country to fund gun violence research - and learn the causes and effects of gun violence.

The city came up with the proposal after a forum on gun violence. One council member says the study could have a powerful impact on the community.

The idea was prompted in large part by fallout from one of Seattle's deadliest days - four people murdered after Ian Stawicki opened fire at Caf Racer in the University District.

Stawicki killed another woman near downtown then took his own life in West Seattle. It's a day his father, Walt Stawicki, will never forget.

"One day at a time. I don't not remember him any day," he says.

It's also a day that Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess will never forget.

"Gun violence is a public health crisis in our region and across the country and we need to approach it that way," says Burgess.

The council wants to spend more than $150,000 on researching the relationship between alcohol, drug abuse, mental illness and gun violence.

But Alan Gottlieb, founder of Second Amendment Foundation, isn't sure he trusts a study on gun violence funded by Seattle's officialdom.

"Any study Seattle does is going to be biased, based on the past history of attacking gun owners and gun rights - so it's a little laughable," says Gottlieb.

He argues the problem is not just guns.

"I like to single in on violence in general," he says. "It doesn't matter if you use a gun or knife or a baseball bat. Violence is violence, so when you try to take it out and pin it on a gun or inanimate object, you're not really going after the person that's committing the violent acts."

Walt Stawicki, father of Ian Stawicki, says he thinks the city's money could be used for other services - even though he lost his son to gun violence.

"It's the wrong approach," he says. "We need a bigger approach. All they have to do is sit down and think for a while. They don't need to study it too much."

But Burgess says a focused study could be the first step toward saving lives.

"I think it will pay huge dividends into the future - safer communities, fewer people harmed by gun violence in our community - and that's very, very worth it," he says.

City officials are working with researchers from the University of Washington on the proposal. Burgess expects it will be approved next month.