Recently, there has been a shocking change in the stance Congress is taking on allowing the CDC to study the problem of gun violence in America. As part of the $1.3 trillion spending bill, a guidance was signed into law by Trump says the Centers for Disease Control:
“…Has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.”
Congress, under pressure from the NRA, banned allowing the CDC to study gun violence in 1996, with the Dickey amendment. This means that for 22 years, Congress has prevented the CDC from doing research that might “advocate or promote gun control.”
Suddenly they have the green light to do studies, but there’s one big problem with that: The Dickey amendment is still in place!
That might be something like saying “No, Trump. You can’t fire Mueller,” but then refusing to pass the bipartisan bill that protects the Special Counsel from Trump’s worst impulses.
Thanks, Mitch McConnell.
Watch what they do, not what they say.
The real message is loud and clear. If Republicans passed that bill, then Mueller would be safe, but they didn’t because that’s not what they really want, though they might say otherwise in public.
That’s why they leave Dickey in place. They don’t really want that research to go forward and for the CDC to continue making claims that guns lead to more violence.
For years, Republicans failed to lift a finger on the matter.
As John Oliver put it:
“It’s like watching a committee of deer voting against investigating the effects of oncoming cars. Let’s stand still. I like our chances, and those headlights are shiny!”
Interestingly, even Dickey himself, a Republican Congressman from Arkansas, had a change of heart at the end of his life. (He died in 2017.) He published an op-ed in the Washington Post that said the NRA had suppressed research findings.
“From 1986 to 1996, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sponsored high-quality, peer-reviewed research into the underlying causes of gun violence. People who kept guns in their homes did not — despite their hopes — gain protection, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Instead, residents in homes with a gun faced a 2.7-fold greater risk of homicide and a 4.8-fold greater risk of suicide. The National Rifle Association moved to suppress the dissemination of these results and to block funding of future government research into the causes of firearm injuries.”
Clearly, even Dickey himself would have wanted the Dickey amendment repealed. At one time, he called himself the “point man” for the NRA, but he clearly changed his tune at the end of his life
Dickey wrote in a letter to Congress that:
“Doing nothing is no longer an acceptable solution.”
So why is the Dickey amendment still there, even after 100 medical groups urged Congress to repeal it in 2016?
Why is it still there, while language telling the CDC to study gun violence somehow slipped into the Trump tax plan?
Why is that language there, while the spending bill fails to give the CDC funding to study guns?
The funding is likely not there because Republicans refuse to allocate it. They blocked funding in 2012 after the Sandy Hook massacre. President Obama asked for $10 million in the annual budget to be sent to the CDC for gun research, and Congress blocked it, protecting their now 22-year-old ban on getting to the real root of the problem.
Although it’s amazing that there has been any change at all on the issue with a Republican-controlled Congress, the CDC still doesn’t have the funding or the clear direction it needs to get to the root of gun violence in America. In the end, it’s even more frustrating, and it probably won’t change until the Republicans and other sold-out politicians across America are voted out of office.
See John Oliver talk about the Dickey Amendment below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube video.