"From 1986 to 1996, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sponsored high-quality, peer reviewed research into the underlying causes of gun violence," wrote Jay Dickey, a former Arkansas Republican congressman and NRA spokesperson, and co-author Mark Rosenberg in the Washington Post in July 2012. Findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine, for example, disproved the gun lobby's orthodoxy about supposed safety benefits of gun ownership.
"Since that legislation in 1996, the United States has spent about $240 million a year on traffic safety research, but there has been almost no publicly funded research on firearm injuries," Dickey and Rosenberg add.
Dickey has since changed his views and no longer supports squelching science. In fact, he now believes that "scientific research should be conducted into preventing firearms injuries" and can "help reduce the toll of death and injuries from gun violence." Federally funded research has, of course, greatly increased safety on the highways and in many other realms of life.
Clearly, it's way past time to bring science's power to bear on our nation's horrendous problems with gun violence. That means it's time to break the gun lobby's disgraceful grip on both our politics and our science.