Franklin E. Zimring, William F. Simon Professor of Law and director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute at the University of California at Berkeley, has conducted research on the causes and control of firearms violence. He published the first study of death rates from gun versus knife attacks and in 1968-69 served as director of research for the Task Force on Firearms of the National Violence Commission. Zimring adheres to the concept of instrumentality, that "a conflict is more likely to be lethal if a lethal weapon is at hand." He holds that if the death rate due to violence is a major problem, then handguns are a major part of that problem.
Zimring received a B.A. from Wayne State University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago. He has co-authored books with Gordon Hawkins dealing with penal confinement, drug control policy, and capital punishment. In 1987, he published The Citizen's Guide to Gun Control. Zimring has served as a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Program on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, the Center for Gun Policy and Research of the Johns Hopkins University, the Violent and Serious Juvenile Offender Project of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the National Policy Committee of the American Society of Criminology, and the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Violence.
Zimring notes that firearm injury reduction might be viewed in the same way as attempts to reduce auto crashes, or, alternatively, like efforts to eliminate smoking as a hazardous activity. Although efforts