Problem is researchers who are unable to drop their anti-gun bias, writes Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action.
In the wake of the tragedy in Parkland, Fla., the media are claiming that the NRA and our supporters in Congress are opposed to government-funded research on criminal violence perpetrated with firearms. Nothing could be further from the truth. We, along with a majority of Americans, believe that research is important in identifying the root causes of violence.
To be clear, Congress did not restrict the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studying firearms and violence. Instead, it restricted government funding from being used to advocate or promote gun control. In the 1990s, when this restriction was passed, that’s exactly what the CDC was doing — advocating for gun control under the auspices of “research.” One CDC official was even quoted in 1994 that he envisioned a public campaign to make guns like cigarettes, “ dirty, deadly — and banned .”
The NRA’s position at the time, which has not changed, is that tax dollars should not be used to take sides in a policy debate. This violates the most basic principle of science, in which objective research should be the goal, rather than a biased policy position against individual firearm ownership.
OUR VIEW: On school shootings, ignorance is not bliss
Government-funded research on guns and violence has been going on for years. Reports indicate that the National Institutes of Health, which is covered by the same restriction, issued over $11 million in grants for such projects between 2014 and 2017. Similar studies that focus on the underlying causes of violence would also not be prohibited.
With this in mind, one might ask why gun control proponents are pushing to have the restriction eliminated. The answer is simple, and it has nothing to do with funding more research, but the desire to use the legitimacy of the CDC to push a political agenda.
Anti-gun advocates know that research by government agencies advocating for more gun control would be viewed as credible by the American people, because such agencies are expected to have an objective, unbiased mission. And this is why limiting funding against such policy advocacy is needed. Americans should be able to trust our institutions, especially those conducting research on our behalf.
The NRA fully supports research, both private and public, which examines the root causes of violence in our communities. What we do not support is using tax dollars to promote gun control. The problem is not funding restriction, but researchers who are unable to drop their anti-gun bias long enough to examine this issue objectively.
Chris W. Cox is executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action.
If you can’t see this reader poll, please refresh your page.