Why No Gun Research? Politics, Money, and NRA


Why are just 20 researchers in America studying the causes of gun violence, which kills five times that many people every day? The Daily Beast says it's a byproduct of a 1996 bill passed by Congress, the Dickey Amendment, which eliminated $2.6 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's budget, the exact amount it was using to study gun ownership. When the money was later restored, a clause was added mandating that it not be used to “advocate for or against gun control.”

Although the CDC's research until then had been independent and not meant to advocate for gun control, the results had been damning. Many believe it was a 1993 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that inspired the NRA to pressure Congress to pass the Dickey Amendment. The study found a “strong” association between guns in homes and an increased risk of homicide. In 2013, President Obama issued more than 23 executive orders relating to gun use, including one that directed the CDC to “research the causes and prevention of gun violence.” But the directive has never been funded.

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