Wednesday, April 6, 2016

CDC leadership quashed gun violence research

For nearly two decades, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has devoted scant resources to the study of gun violence, even as fatal shootings claim more than 30,000 lives each year, according to The Atlantic.
That lack of research is attributed to language in a 1996 appropriations bill that the CDC, lawmakers, and the media interpret as blocking the agency from research on firearms deaths and injuries. That conventional wisdom is under assault from a growing chorus of dissenters, including former high-ranking agency officials. They assert that while Congress put constraints on the CDC, it did not ban the study of gun violence. Instead, they say, senior CDC brass made the choice to restrict gun research, rather than risk political retribution.
“It was the leadership of CDC who stopped the agency from doing gun violence research,” Mark Rosenberg, a founder of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the division of the agency responsible for its work on the subject, told The Trace.
“Right now, there is nothing stopping them from addressing this life-and-death national problem.” The CDC stopped issuing funding grants for external gun studies, which left many of the nation’s most well-regarded gun researchers scrounging for funds from foundations, or financing studies out of pocket. Today, less than $5 millin is spent each year on gun studies. A single HIV or cancer study can cost twice as much. CDC official Debra Houry says the only way for the agency to conduct meaningful firearms research is with the express backing of Congress, which it has not received. 

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