Dr. John Lott has a new op-ed at Townhall.com on the budget agreement that Congress has reached on funding public health research on firearm violence. The piece starts this way:
On Monday, House and Senate negotiators announced a deal where $25 million in taxpayer funds will be spent on gun violenceresearch, $12.5 million is earmarked exclusively for public health researchers. If history is any guide, but
ofthe rest will also end up going to public health researchers.
Headlines claimed: “Congress reaches
dealto fund gun violence research for firsttime in decades.” The funding described as “a major win for Democrats.” While that may sound like a good idea at first glance, it wouldn’t do anything to reduce gun violence in our country.
It should go without saying that everyone opposes gun violence. But it’s important to take effective measures to deal with this problem and not simply take actions that sound appealing but won’t really save lives.
The idea behind the research funding is to have medical professionals apply tools they developed to study cancer, heart disease
andother diseases and use them to study crime, accidental death and suicide. But to statethe obvious, gun violence and diseases are two very different things.
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.
But there’s a big problem with the argument: it’s not true.
Opponents of the Second Amendment who are eager to impose as many restrictions as possible on firearms falsely claim that a measure enacted in 1996 called the Dickey Amendment – named after former Rep. Jay Dickey, (R-AR) – barred research on gun violence to be funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But in reality, here is what the reviled Dickey Amendment states: “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.”
The point of that plain language is to say CDC-funded research is fine. CDC advocacy is not. So despite what gun-control zealots say, objective research based on facts is allowed under the Dickey Amendment.
The amendment came in response to top CDC officials advocating various gun control laws, such as prohibiting people from carrying concealed handguns.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns falsely claimed in a 2013 report that as a result of the Dickey Amendment “academic publishing on firearm violence fell by 60 percent between 1996 and 2010.”
But the mayors’ group measured something different: firearms research in medical journals as a percentage of all medical research. . . .
Much more is available here.