Myth About Ban on Gun Research Resurrected

Glock Model 21" by Michael @ NW Lens is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED.

A while back, Congress decided it was sick of the CDC using taxpayer money to advocate for gun control. It’s bad enough that our tax dollars are being spent poorly everywhere else, the last thing we needed was to pay for our own government to take away our gun rights.


The CDC decided that all gun research fell into the category of advocacy and stopped doing any of it.

Plenty of others picked up the slack, however, and so studies were still being done.

The ban was lifted several years ago–and we’ve seen what the CDC has been doing since then–but the myth has never gone away.

In the wake of the Maine shooting, we’re seeing it resurrected as a political tool.

After every mass shooting the same questions seem to arise: how did the shooter get their gun? What were the warning signs? What’s the relationship between domestic violence and white supremacist ideology and mass killings? How can we stop this from happening again?

What few people ask, however, is why, after decades of high-profile mass shootings and nearly 50,000 gun-related deaths each year, we’re still trying to understand the causes of gun violence. Were it not for a nearly two-decade stoppage in federally funded gun violence research, we might have been closer to having these answers, says Garen Wintemute, an emergency room physician and longtime gun violence researcher.

“Instead, we choked off funding and now we’re answering questions that we could have had 30 years ago,” said Wintemute, who heads the violence prevention research program at UC Davis. “How many more thousands of people are dead today that would have been alive if the research of the 90s had continued, if we had answered those questions?”


Probably zero.

Look, I get that Wintemute is a fan of gun control, but the reality is that gun control doesn’t actually accomplish much of anything.

Yet even if it did, many of us would still prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. I’d rather risk injury or death and have the means to protect what this nation stands for than give up that means on the unfulfillable promise that I’d be safer.

Yet let’s understand that research was still being conducted.

Moreover, the CDC could have still conducted it. The law in question barred them from advocacy, but simply scientific exploration isn’t advocacy. Had they been interested in performing unbiased gun research, they could have.

The fact that they took the ban on advocacy to be a ban on research as a whole, though, was telling. It became very clear that the CDC and other gun researchers weren’t really interested in discovering the truth. They were interested in advancing a narrative.

Now, with the shooting in Lewiston, Maine making headlines and an election coming up, the media is trying to pin pretty much everything on Republicans in hopes of regaining control of the House and maintaining control of the Senate and White House.


That means resurrecting a myth that no longer has any bearing anyway.

It also means ignoring all the inconvenient facts surrounding what happened in Maine such as how their “yellow flag” law wasn’t used for an obviously disturbed individual.

Instead, they want to blame a supposed void in gun research that never really happened. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s not really going to fly.

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