Why Funding Public Health Research of Gun Violence is a Waste of Money
This week, Congress announced that the Senate and the House had come to a deal to funnel $25 million in funds to gun violence research, half of which will go to public health researchers. The deal, which represents a kind of bipartisan compromise on the issue of “doing more” to stop gun violence in America, is part of a $1.4 trillion spending package expected to go to the president’s desk by the end of the week.
But while some Democrats are already decrying the fact that Republicans won’t “do more” to stop gun violence, proponents of the Second Amendment are warning that these expenditures aren’t as harmless as they may sound. In an op-ed for Townhall, gun-rights researcher John Lott said that the money will do nothing to reduce gun deaths in America. Worse, he said, it will give Democrats the opportunity to use taxpayer money to fund endless streams of anti-gun propaganda.
“The idea behind the research funding is to have medical professionals apply tools they developed to study cancer, heart disease and other diseases and use them to study crime, accidental death and suicide. But to state the obvious, gun violence and diseases are two very different things,” Lott wrote.
“The National Rifle Association – regularly demonized in the media and by many Democrats – has been blamed for preventing academics from doing research on firearms. So supporters of the spending to research gun violence as a public health issue say their bill is needed to stop the NRA from blocking vital research that will save lives,” he continued. “But there’s a big problem with the argument: it’s not true.”
Lott goes on to myth-bust one of the most enduring lies in the media, which is that the 1996 Dickey Amendment prohibits the CDC from conducting any research on gun violence. This is a false charge, seeing as how the amendment only prevents the CDC from advocating gun control measures. Democrats see this as a distinction without a difference, of course, because they believe that gun control is the only true method of preventing gun violence. But the truth is that it only prohibits the CDC from acting as an arm of propaganda for the Democratic Party.
“There is a simple reason that Democrats and gun control activists insist on funding for public health research — as a new survey of academics shows, unlike criminologists and economists, public health people are much more supportive of more gun control,” Lott wrote. “Unfortunately, politicians and their appointees just can’t keep politics out of their decisions about how to spend the money they collect from the American people.
“That’s too bad,” he concluded, “because people’s safety is what is shortchanged.”