January 17, 2015 4:00 pm -

Hamstrung by a Congress indebted to the NRA, the Centers for Disease Control is unable to research gun violence, in spite of an order from the White House to do so.


[su_thin_right_skyscraper_ad]The CDC had not touched firearm research since 1996 — when the NRA accused the agency of promoting gun control and Congress threatened to strip the agency’s funding. The CDC’s self-imposed ban dried up a powerful funding source and had a chilling effect felt far beyond the agency: Almost no one wanted to pay for gun violence studies, researchers say. Young academics were warned that joining the field was a good way to kill their careers. And the odd gun study that got published went through linguistic gymnastics to hide any connection to firearms.

The long stalemate continued until shortly after the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., when Obama announced several gun-control proposals, including reversing the CDC research ban. His higher-profile proposals – tightening firearm background checks, reinstating the assault weapons ban – were viewed as impossible to pass into law. Congress wouldn’t bite. But ending the CDC research ban? Done by executive order, it appeared to have the best shot, along with broad support from a scientific community upset that gun violence as a public health problem was being ignored.

“A lot of people thought it would make a big difference,” recalled Jeffrey Swanson, a Duke University psychiatry professor who studies gun violence and mental health.

But today the CDC still avoids gun-violence research, demonstrating what many see as the depth of its fear about returning to one of the country’s most divisive debates. The agency recently was asked by The Washington Post why it was still sitting on the sidelines of firearms studies. It declined to make an official available for an interview but responded with a statement noting it had commissioned an agenda of possible research goals but still lacked the dedicated funding to pursue it.

And don’t hold your breath.

Congress has continued to block dedicated funding. Obama requested $10 million for the CDC’s gun violence research in his last two budgets. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have introduced bills supporting the funding.  Both times the Republican-controlled House of Representatives said no. Maloney recently said she planned to reintroduce her bill this year, but she wasn’t hopeful.

So, the CDC is no closer to initiating gun-violence studies.

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D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

15 responses to CDC Still Can’t Research Gun Violence Because Of GOP Congress

  1. Red Eye Robot January 17th, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Post sandyhook Obama ordered a CDC study of gun violence. The Admin. promptly shelved the study when it showed, You fared better when attacked if you had a gun and that armed citizens used guns defensively at least as often as criminals used them for crime. (500,000 + times yearly) Criminals got their guns from straw purchases and black market sources not gun shows

    • Carla Akins January 17th, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      And you know this how? Would you like to back that up with an actual verifiable source? Because all other current studies disagree with your premise.

      • Anomaly 100 January 17th, 2015 at 4:49 pm

        He’s so full of sh*t, he needs a toilet flush on his jaw.

        • rg9rts January 17th, 2015 at 5:14 pm

          I gave him my usual greeting….

    • tiredoftea January 17th, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      No, that’s how it has been read by gun zealots, like you. The report showed, surprise, surprise, that due to the lack of credible research, that the current results are incomplete and require further study.

    • tracey marie January 17th, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      what do you call a criminal, a man who shots his wife with his legally purchased gun
      a person who shoots what they feel is an intruder with their legal gun and turns out to be a spouse or child. A person who shoots a stranger with their legal gun because they were frightened by their appearence.

      • rg9rts January 17th, 2015 at 5:14 pm


    • Obewon January 17th, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Gun owners are shot +450% more often! “People with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.”-University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study: Protection Or Peril? Gun Possession Of Questionable Value In An Assault, Study Finds. 2009.

    • rg9rts January 17th, 2015 at 5:14 pm


    • zarnon January 17th, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      How far up will I have to crawl to find your citation?

  2. Obewon January 17th, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    CDC’s 32,163 gun deaths in 2011 were committed by the mere 31% of gun owning households who cause 2/3+ of all U.S. homicides every year!

    Darwinism: Gun owners shoot 22 to 43 times more friends and family than any intruder.

  3. rg9rts January 17th, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    And nothing will be done for the next two years…

  4. bpollen January 17th, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    It’s not studying gun violence, it’s an in-depth study of lead poisoning?

  5. KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker January 18th, 2015 at 6:02 am

    America has the best politicians money can buy.

  6. Dwendt44 January 18th, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    One of the main comments spewed by the NRA (a terrorist organization) is:
    “Enforce the laws already on the books before enacting new ones!”
    The problems is, the NRA has lobbied, coerced, manipulated, threatened, bribed, and/or arm twisted congress to fill those ‘laws already on the books’ with so many loop holes and hurdles to jump that makes most of them impossible to enforce.
    Not allowing the CDC to study gun violence is just one of them.