Gun violence is a public health epidemic in America -- but due to pressure from the NRA, our government conducts almost no research attempting to quantify the magnitude of the problem or investigate possible remedies.
As this Salon article explains, the NRA's intimidation has prevented our national public health institute, the CDC -- which has an entire department devoted to injury and violence prevention and control -- from conducting gun safety research for the last 15 years. That's despite the fact that guns kill as many Americans as car crashes do (30 thousand per year!). This is unacceptable and must change immediately.
The NRA has been conducting a war on gun science for the last 20 years. The CDC is afraid to conduct any research on gun violence because gun lobby supporters in Congress will seek revenge by attempting to strip the CDC's funding. It's time for the CDC to stand up to the NRA's bullying tactics and fulfill its pledge to "base all public health decisions on the highest quality scientific data, openly and objectively derived."
Imagine if the government refused to conduct research on car safety (a subject that currently gets over $60 million per year in funding) because they were afraid of incurring the wrath of the auto industry. How ridiculous does that sound? That's the current state of gun science at the CDC.
Public health research on gun safety can't undo the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, but it will certainly help us prevent needless deaths from gun violence in the future.
If you want to read more, here a couple great articles on the subject:
Salon: The NRA's war on gun science
Slate: How Congress Blocked Research on Gun Violence