Will Obama's order lead to surge in gun research?

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE | January 17, 2013 | 5:32 PM EST

This combination of 2005 and undated file photos shows one of Charles A. McCoy Jr.'s guns included in evidence during his 2005 murder trial in Columbus, Ohio, left, and a side crash test on a 2008 PT Cruiser by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Nearly as many Americans die from guns as from car crashes each year. We know plenty about the second group and little about the first. A lack of research on how to prevent gun violence has left policymakers shooting in the dark as they craft gun control measures without evidence of what works. (AP Photo/Tim Revell, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Researchers say that President Barack Obama's order to encourage use of federal money to study gun violence may help lead to more knowledge about how to prevent firearm injuries and deaths.

About 30,000 Americans die from gun violence each year, nearly the same number as from car crashes. Much more is known about victims and vehicles in crashes than victims of gun deaths.

One reason is that rules passed in 1996 at the urging of the National Rifle Association barred use of federal money for research that might promote gun control. On Wednesday Obama urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to resume gun violence studies. Some scientists hope this will help answer basic questions such as how many people own firearms in various cities.