Budget Bill Blocks CDC Research as the Gun Lobby Wants
by Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council
I founded NGVAC for one simple reason—the strategies of current anti-gun violence groups, big and small, can never succeed at the federal level. No matter what gun atrocities occur, the 34 Senators from pro-gun states (among others) will never allow gun safety legislation to pass.
There are no tipping points with them as we saw after Sandy Hook, Aurora and the shooting of Rep. Giffords. And now after the San Bernardino terrorist massacre, Congress still upheld the “right” of people on the No Fly (Terror Watch List) to buy guns.
Another example of the delusion that Congress will act is the huge tax and spending package bill signed into law this week that specifically keeps in place a congressional ban on any money for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health to conduct gun research.
Lawmakers kept the ban in place despite its disavowal by the very lawmaker who created it– former Rep. Jay Dickey (R- Ark.).
Why do we need such research? The embargo keeps us from knowing little more than the number of deaths and injuries from guns. We do not know the true causes and predictors of gun violence nor the psychological, social and economic tolls on individuals, families and communities and the effect of drugs and alcohol. Nor do we know the factors that are—or would be— effective in halting the gun violence epidemic.
The ban on all government research–driven by the gun lobby’s fear that unregulated gun ownership would be named a risk factor in violence–blocks any public health policies to address and mitigate gun violence including prevention.
The only thing that will halt the gun violence epidemic is President Obama issuing executive orders. But the executive orders needed can only be issued after he declares a National State of Emergency. Recall, the month after Sandy Hook, the President issued 23 executive orders without declaring a National State of Emergency. You have seen how much good those did to halt the gun violence epidemic. He is planning to do the same thing after the San Bernardino massacre—we will see the same results.
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