This ban, supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA), has effectively silenced researchers at both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) for conducting any comprehensive studies on what causes violence — and what can be done to prevent it — since 1996. As expected, it’s left public health experts and policymakers with little to lean on as they attempt to craft new legislation to help quell the fatal trend.
At Wednesday’s press conference, led by Doctors for America, doctors presented a petition signed by more than 2,000 physicians in all 50 states requesting an end to the restriction.
“It’s disappointing to me that we’ve made little progress in the past 20 years in finding solutions to gun violence,” said Dr. Nina Agrawal, who’s been a pediatrician in the South Bronx for years. “In my career, I’ve seen children lives saved from measles, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, motor vehicle accidents…because of federal scientific data and research. It’s frustrating that the CDC is not permitted to do the same type of research for gun violence.”
Instead, GOP leaders have tried to make gun violence an issue that requires mental health research, despite the fact that less than 3 percent of U.S. crimes involve someone with a mental illness. And the most recent argument against CDC-funded research is that “a gun is not a disease” — even though the CDC has been researching motor vehicles, natural disasters, poor ventilation systems, and many other topics that wouldn’t be labeled a disease for years. The politicians behind these arguments have yet to suggest simply allocating money to another government agency.
“Politicians have put a gag order on public health research for gun violence only to score political points,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who also spoke at the event. “On public health matters, it’s critical we listen to doctors — not politicians.”
Please let this last spate of gun violence be enough to finally get Americans off their asses and willing to vocally, and politically, support changes in how we deal with guns in this country.
I don't know about everybody else but I am goddamn tired of writing headlines about people being shot to death.