Target: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
Goal: Remove ban on gun violence research by the Center for Disease Control and stop denying funding to research efforts.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), the leading public health institute in the US dedicated to studying and preventing human deaths, is currently prevented from researching gun violence. The CDC was one of the largest researchers of gun deaths in America until the mid-1990s, when the National Rifle Association (NRA) effectively lobbied to end any research into deaths caused by gun violence.
Since the NRA’s rise to congressional power in the 1980s, it has been remarkably consistent in opposing any research or limitations that might reduce sales of firearms and assault weapons. While this organization certainly has the right to believe such things, Congress should be above being effectively bribed by lobbyists into shutting down research efforts.
This ban on research originated in 1997, after the NRA was hurt by Congress’s assault weapons ban, but was extended again recently. The reported reason for extending the ban was that gun violence was “not a disease” and not able to be studied by the CDC. The CDC, however, also studies environmental issues, car crashes, and natural disaster prevention. Despite “not being diseases,” this research has never been denied by a powerful political lobbying agency in favor of natural disasters.
Congress should be above this level of petty political pandering. Fear of powerful lobbyists leads them to deny federal research that could shed light on difficult socio-political issues and hide them from the public eye. Please sign the petition below to reinstate federal research into this complex political issue and stop allowing outside agencies to buy congressmen and halt progress.
Dear Senator Reid,
After yet another devastating mass shooting, it is well past time to lift the ban on gun violence research in America. The CDC was effectively blocked from researching the causes and effects of gun violence in the 1990s as the growing NRA lobbied successfully to remove all funding from CDC research into the matter. Research had been largely unfavorable to them and it was politically convenient to prevent it from continuing. It shouldn’t need to be said that this kind of being purchased by interest groups is no way to run a democracy.
In the past, research was accused of being biased as a reason to shut down gun violence research altogether. If bias is found, the answer is to address and prevent bias, not shut down all research entirely. This should be a non-partisan issue; both parties should have the protection of the citizens and the pursuit of accurate knowledge among the highest priority goals at all times.
I am urging you to rescind this partisan ban and restart research that can help the country to understand and fix these difficult problems. Too much is at stake to continue to avoid this any longer.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: M&R Glasgows