Part of the reason our nation has been unable to respond to the epidemic of mass shootings is that we don’t know very much about them. We don’t have very much scientific data on mass shootings because research on gun violence is illegal, thanks to the NRA and the Dickey Amendment. Physicians, scientists, and Democratic lawmakers have all joined together to push for the end to the ban on gun violence research. 2,000 doctors have signed a petition demanding the repeal of this bill that actively contributes to the gun deaths of 89 Americans a day.
“Gun violence is among the most difficult public health challenges we face as a country, but because of the deeply misguided ban on research, we know very little about it,” said Rep. David Price (D-NC). “Regardless of where we stand in the debate over gun violence, we should all be able to agree that this debate should be informed by objective data and robust scientific research.” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) added that “Politicians have put a gag order on public health research for gun violence only to score political points. On public health matters, it’s critical we listen to doctors — not politicians.”
Even the bill’s namesake, former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AR) regrets its passage, and sent a letter to the House Committee on Gun Violence “[I] was never in opposition of doing research, [I] was in opposition to using that to harm the Second Amendment. No one did it do do away with cars, because clearly you could end all auto deaths if you did away with cars. It’s ridiculous to jump to that conclusion. No one is calling [to do away with guns]. We’re calling for good public policy to get to the route of this problem we have.”
ThinkProgress has reported that the twenty-year ban is supported by the National Rifle Association and prevents the Center for Disease Control and the National Health Institute from researching what causes mass shootings and gun violence in our nation. Even though President Obama attempted to executive order studies into gun violence after the Sandy Hook Massacre, Congress has consistently refused to provide any funding for it. The Republican Party and the NRA are responsible for the abhorrent violence that takes place in our nation every day, and until we replace the blood-profiteers and anti-government extremists in our Congress with rational and responsible lawmakers, it’s going to be murder as usual for the immediate future.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.