My mother taught second grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14th, 2012. Six of her colleagues — all women — were killed, as were 20 first-graders, in a mass shooting at her school. My mother survived, though our lives will never be the same.
After the shooting, I dedicated nearly all of my efforts to gun violence prevention advocacy. I learned a lot of disturbing things about our nation’s gun laws. Most Americans do not know the extent of our broken system; regulations are nearly non-existent. But one of the most frustrating obstacles to building a safer country free from gun violence is that Congress has banned federal gun violence research since the year I was born -- 1996.
You read that right. An average of 32 people are killed by a gun in America every day, and yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can’t even conduct research into the root causes of all forms of gun violence.
How are we expected to come up with the most impactful solutions if we can’t even study the problem?
Through lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA), Congress has prevented the CDC from studying the causes of gun violence by claiming that research could be “used to advocate or promote gun control.” Congress even extended the ban right after the Charleston church shooting that left 9 people dead, by rejecting an amendment that would have repealed the ban.
It’s time for this petty politicking to stop. Join me in calling on Congress and the CDC to resume studying the causes and impacts of gun violence.