Democrats Sen Edward Markey of Massachusetts, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York have been joined by 30 other Senate and House Democrats in supporting S.834, a bill that will send $60 million to the CDC for research on gun violence.
“Gun violence is ending lives and shattering families in Massachusetts and across our country,” said Markey. “Now more than ever we must study the causes of gun violence and what can be done to prevent it. No one should be afraid of more non-partisan, scientific research into this vital issue – not Republicans, not the NRA and not President Trump.”
Anti-gun groups such as Everytown, Moms Demand, and Newtown Action Alliance have also rallied behind the bill.
“Gun violence kills more than 90 Americans and injures hundreds more each day, and yet it remains one of the most underfunded areas of public health research,” said Sarah Tofe, research director for Everytown in a statement emailed to Guns.com. “The legislation introduced today would appropriate necessary and long overdue funds to the CDC to reclaim their leadership when it comes to gun violence prevention research – a role that has been decimated for more than two decades thanks to a relentless campaign by gun lobby-backed legislators.”
However, the CDC has never ceased in studying gun violence, even after it was stripped of $2.6 million worth of funding in 1997 for the purpose of studying the subject. In fact, the CDC’s research into gun violence held very steady since that year, and even increased drastically in 2013 after the Newtown shooting.
The reason it was defunded stems from a series of events throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, where the CDC was openly biased against firearms, and the rights surrounding them. As The Federalist tells the story, leadership within the CDC had stated that they openly intended to do to guns what had been done to cigarettes.
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the CDC was openly biased in opposing gun rights. CDC official and research head Patrick O’Carroll stated in a 1989 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, “We’re going to systematically build a case that owning firearms causes deaths.” This sounds more like activist rhetoric than it does scientific research, as O’Carroll effectively set out with the goal of confirmation bias, saying “We will prove it,” and not the scientific objectiveness of asking “Does it?”
O’Carroll went on to deny he had said this, claiming he was misquoted. However, his successor and director of the CDC National Center of Injury Prevention branch Mark Rosenberg told Rolling Stone in 1993 that he “envisions a long term campaign, similar to tobacco use and auto safety, to convince Americans that guns are, first and foremost, a public health menace.” He went on to tell the Washington Post in 1994 “We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. It used to be that smoking was a glamour symbol — cool, sexy, macho. Now it is dirty, deadly — and banned.”
What research was released to that end was beyond flawed, and soon the National Rifle Association went to congress to make sure they took action against this blatant anti-gun bias. The effect was congress stripping the funding for gun violence research, as they found it was being used instead for propaganda.
Regardless, the CDC continues to do research into gun violence, but it has not created faulty reports inspired by an anti-firearm agenda since.