“Looks like the Democrats want the CDC to do some research on… [Puts on Sunglasses]… lead poisoning!” [Who Are You from The Who Starts Blasting from an Unknown Source]
Back in 1996, Congress approved a restriction in the budget that essentially defunded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from doing any research on the topic of gun safety. With that one move, Congress essentially banned the CDC from doing any research on the matter of guns. Since 1996, very little government research has been done on the subject. As we touched on it in the past, this has made writing smart legislation on gun control almost impossible because the government has no data to see what gun control measures are the most effective. To make matters worse, as organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) became more prominent in the political scene, they started to use their clout to strong-arm Congress into extending the ban on research each year.
It’s become so common over the last couple of years that the CDC ban got extended last July with little to no media coverage. Congressional Democrats however look to finally change that. With the recent uptick of mass shootings in the US, Democrats announced today that any legislation with the CDC gun research ban should be a “make-or-break” issue for them. In other words, if language of that ban exists, then they should no vote it. No exceptions!
While many continue to question why the CDC should be conducting gun research in the first place, in reality however, it actually makes a lot of sense. Federal departments like the CDC and National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the primary research bodies of the government. They are the most equipped to handle such wide ranging research as gun safety. Not only that, but agencies like the CDC are known to do research on matters that don’t involve diseases. A perfect example of this is their yearly reports on car safety. But the reason for this push back stems from a bigger question.
Is gun violence actually a public health problem?
Well, that depends on who you ask. For gun rights groups like the NRA, they would say fatalities brought on by guns are not a health issue and in reality are a public health bias. But for individuals like the US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, he believes guns are a public health issue that has to be studied.
While it’s still unclear if congressional Democrats will actually succeed in reinstating funds to the CDC for research on gun safety – after all Republicans still make up the majority of the Senate and House – it’s pretty clear that this fight is just getting started.
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