20 Year Funding Ban on Gun Violence Research

Every so often we stumble upon information capable of stopping us dead in our tracks. It happened this evening – walked in from work to find an emailed link from my husband. A Washington Post article appeared, the headline read –

Hours Before San Bernardino Shooting, Doctors Urged Congress to Lift Funding Ban on Gun Violence Research


WTF? Gun violence research is banned in America? How is this possible? Gun rights activists, supporters and lobbyists produce parades of statistics supporting a decline in violence. Tireless assertions of “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” wait in ambush for gun reform sentiment. Mental health, not guns are to blame – reality of gun rights activism, the truth behind bat shit I scrape off my wall.

A few hours before the San Bernardino mass shooting, advocacy group Doctors for America , American College of Preventative Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics handed Congress a petition signed by 2000 doctors. The petition demanded an end to the Dickey Amendment of 1996, a federal law stating in part –

“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.”

To comprehend the scope of this statement, we need to understand driving force and consequences. In 1993 CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention funded a study concluding an increased risk of homicide in homes with firearms. The NRA went ballistic, lobbying government to shut down the National Center for Injury Prevention. Enter Republican Congressman Jay Dickey from Arkansas. Dickey penned a congressional compromise, the Dickey Amendment became law in 1996. Wary of magnitude and influence of an increasingly powerful NRA lobby, gun violence researchers chose abandoning studies over risking loss of federal research funds. ( In 2013 the CDC budget was $6.3 billion, employing 14,000 at city, state and national levels – far too much to risk on pissing off the NRA )

From Huffington Post article linked below –

“Well over half a million people have died by firearms since 1996, when the ban on gun violence research was enacted, according to a HuffPost calculation of data through 2013 from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to its sponsors, the Dickey Amendment was supposed to tamp down funding for what the National Rifle Association and other critics claimed was anti-gun advocacy research by the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention. In effect, it stopped federal gun violence research almost entirely.”

I urge you to read this article – hang on to your trousers when you reach the part re a 2011 New York Times article claiming –

“But there’s also also apparent reluctance on the part of the agency to re-enter the political fray. As the New York Times reported in 2011, the CDC tips off the NRA as a courtesy when any affiliated researchers publish firearm-related studies. And even after President Barack Obama (D) issued an executive order following the Sandy Hook massacre, calling for the CDC to “sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it,” the agency still hasn’t returned to studying gun violence.”




Congressman Ebola

Republican Phil Gingrey of Georgia is concerned about keeping Ebola out of America. Never mind there has never been a case of this hemorrhagic virus in the Western Hemisphere – Gingrey wrote a letter to Thomas Frieden at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) demanding action on the immigration crisis.

“Reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning. Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles. This makes those Americans that are not vaccinated – and especially young children and the elderly – particularly susceptible,” – Phil Gingrey

“The border patrol gave us a list of the diseases that they’re concerned about, and Ebola was one of those,” he told NBC News’ Luke Russert. ”I can’t tell you specifically that there were any cases of Ebola, I don’t think there were, but of course Tuberculosis, Chagas disease, many – small pox, some of the infectious diseases of children, all of these are concerns.”


Did I mention Congressman Gingrey is a Doctor? A Doctor who “doesn’t think” there have been any cases of Ebola in America, yet publicly insists his grave concern migrant children will unleash Ebola upon defenseless America. Those children being the nearly 60,000 illegal migrants from Central America who’ve sullied American soil since last October.

I’m not American – as such, I haven’t a fully informed or comprehensive understanding of  unaccompanied children streaming across the border. More accurately; the why isn’t rocket science, specifics of the political circus elude me. That said, it doesn’t take an American to call bullshit on blatant stupidity. When a former Doctor turned Congressman pushes right wing hysteria buttons with utterly irresponsible nonsense, my patience runs out the door.

One thing I’m not is surprised. Self appointed right wing guardians of American values is nothing new. Using positions of elected prominence to influence and ignite, serve them well – who cares about truth, Millions of people (many a few fries short of a Happy Meal) take them at their word, and they know it. According to an article in Mother Jones (I’ll link below) Gingrey is associated with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons – A group strongly opposing mandatory vaccinations, in 2007 Gingrey wrote an amendment in favor of parents stopping their kids from having the HPV vaccine(a known cause of Cervical Cancer)


The reality of migrant children isn’t going away. Our world is an ugly place – this, another ugly problem. I don’t have the answer but one thing I know for sure; allowing bat shit nonsense to spew from the lips of elected representatives should be punishable by law.