Buried in the text of an article in the current issue of Discover Magazine dealing with so-called “gun violence” is an interesting remark from one of the leading names in gun-related research that seems to let the air out of an argument anti-gunners have been using for several years.
While gun prohibitionists have contended that federal legislation passed more than 20 years ago has stopped gun research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Garen Wintemute, head of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, indicates that’s not exactly accurate.
The article recalls how then-Congressman Jay Dickey sponsored the “Dickey Amendment” in 1996. This was an amendment that cut funding for gun research; at least, that’s what anti-gunners have intimated. But the article notes the amendment actually instructed, “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” (Emphasis added.)
The gun prohibition lobby has reacted accordingly. Giffords, the group founded and named for former Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, argues on its website, “For more than 20 years, federal investment in gun violence research has remained virtually absent at the nation’s primary health protection agency, despite gun deaths increasing for the past three years in a row to levels not seen in decades.”
Everytown for Gun Safety, the group founded and funded by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg, says on its website, “Congress has knowingly restricted gun violence research and, as a result, lives are put at risk every day.”
But Wintemute is quoted in the Discover article explaining, “The language did not ban research; it banned advocacy or promotion for gun control.”
Translation: Public funding could not be used to promote gun control legislation. You cannot use the public’s money to advocate for restrictions on a constitutionally-protected fundamental right exercised by more than 100 million taxpayers whose taxes provided the funds.
However, Wintemute added, “But everybody saw the writing on the wall, and CDC took itself out of the game.”
If there was writing on any wall, it would have said simply, “no more advocacy research.”
Back in 2013, during the Obama administration, the CDC actually did some research, about which Investors Business Daily said in an editorial, “The White House asked the Centers for Disease Control ‘to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.’ We’re pretty sure that what the CDC found wasn’t what the White House was looking for.”
What was the result of that research? As the editorial explained at the time, “What that study revealed, though, does not fit in with the media-Democrat message.
“Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals,” says the report, which was completed in June and ignored in the mainstream press.
“The study, which was farmed out by the CDC to the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, also revealed that while there were ‘about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008,’ the estimated number of defensive uses of guns ranges ‘from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.’”
Apparently, nobody saw that one coming, which may have been why the report — as Investors Business Daily intimated — was virtually ignored by the media.
The Discover article acknowledged that suicides are responsible for “roughly 60 percent of firearms deaths in 2017,” the most recent year for which data is available.
There is some “blame the gun” language, including this: “And data from the FBI shows that handguns are by far the most likely type of firearm to cause a fatality.” Rights activists constantly remind anyone who will listen that guns don’t “cause” anything; people using firearms are responsible, same as someone who uses a knife to commit multiple stabbings. In such cases the knife never gets blamed.
Overall, the Discover article is worth reading. There is some interesting information about suicide with firearms (arguably misidentified as “suicide by firearms” in the article, since the gun didn’t commit the act), a subject being discussed during this weekend’s Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix.
This conference will likely set a new attendance record, and it is being live-streamed on the Second Amendment Foundation’s Facebook page, beginning Saturday morning. SAF co-sponsors the event with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.