The Centers for Disease Control was legally barred from conducting research that promoted gun control. That’s precisely what the law said. In other words, they weren’t allowed to conduct biased research, which is what much of the firearm research out there happened to be at the time.
Now, though, that block is lifted, and the CDC is back in the game.
Once upon a time, way back in December 2019, US lawmakers made a decision that would allow federal agencies to fund gun violence prevention research for the first time in over two decades. And while so much has changed since then, some parts of the world barrel on as usual: Today, Sept. 30, awardees of the first research grants are starting their work.
Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the recipients of nearly $8 million in funding to 16 research groups across the US to study firearm injury prevention. Their objectives over the next few years are to find ways to enhance safety and lower gun deaths and crime, either by evaluating current strategies in practice or proposing new ones. Research grants on the same topic awarded by the US National Institutes of Health are still under consideration.
The total funding of $25 million represents a compromise made by lawmakers; Democrats had initially pushed for $50 million. “It won’t get us where we need to be, but it’s a great start,” Emmy Betz, the deputy director at the Program for Injury Prevention, Education and Research at the Colorado School of Public Health, told the Verge in 2019.
The new research projects breaks a 24-year hiatus on this kind of federally funded research. Back in 1996, US legislators passed the Dickey Amendment, which explicitly prohibited federal funding for any research that advocated for gun control. As a result, all federal funding for gun injury prevention screeched to a halt.
And that last bit is an important point.
See, research isn’t supposed to be advocating any position at all. It’s to establish the facts as they are, not as someone wishes them to be. The fact that the CDC interpreted this as a halt on all research tells us that they weren’t after the truth, but a narrative. They wanted to use the “research” to push for gun control policies and now the law wouldn’t allow them to do that.
Science is supposed to be the search for truth. However, there have always been those who would use their positions to try and advance whatever causes they cared to advance. This is no different.
Meanwhile, anti-gunners have routinely spewed forth about how there wasn’t any gun research being conducted, all while citing the latest studies that supported their claims. In fairness, they also ignored those studies that didn’t support gun control as well, so we shouldn’t be too surprised.
The fact that federal funding wasn’t used for gun violence research was on people like the CDC and no one else.
While anti-gunners will preen about how that wasn’t the case, anyone with a fully-functional brain can see otherwise.