#Human Rights
The White House
United States of America

Sunday, November 5, 2017 started as a morning like any other. Woke up around 9, made breakfast and plopped onto the couch. I try not to check Facebook on days off because we live in an age where the information is so instant, it feels as though news could trigger a heart attack. Even at 31, I am terrified to lose someone I love in this divided, scary, and broken Country.

I have to do something and I am not sure where to begin. I fear our time is limited on this planet and the fact of death is scary enough. Why make it easier to end such fragile lives? Perhaps together we can make this petition go viral and begin the long journey to better mental health and less gun violence.

Here is an excerpt from an article written on October 18, 2017 after the Las Vegas massacre:

"A January Journal of the American Medical Association article called US gun-violence research “substantially underfunded and understudied.” A February article in the American Journal of Public Health observed that roadway deaths have substantially declined thanks to measures suggested by research, in contrast to “a paucity of research about ways … to mitigate mortality and morbidity caused by firearms.” In the general media as well, arguments for federal gun-violence research have been lurking. Now the Las Vegas concert massacre has refocused the attention.

Much of the attention goes to the Dickey Amendment, a provision in a 1996 statute named for Republican congressman Jay Dickey of Arkansas. It doesn’t actually forbid federal gun-violence research. It merely directs that “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.” But the Dickey Amendment has intimidated federal research officials at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health ever since.

Firearms and public health

Does gun-violence research really invite or portend gun control? Many on the political right think so. Consider the 2011 New York Times article “NRA stymies firearms research, scientists say.” It quoted National Rifle Association chief lobbyist Chris Cox: “Our concern is not with legitimate medical science. Our concern is they were promoting the idea that gun ownership was a disease that needed to be eradicated.” Late this summer, Science magazine quoted another NRA lobbyist’s concern that federal involvement means that “political agendas are allowed to supersede scientific analysis.”

The Times’s 2011 article noted that the Dickey “prohibition is striking, firearms researchers say, because there are already regulations that bar the use of CDC money for lobbying for or against legislation. No other field of inquiry is singled out in this way.”

Newsweek’s headline after Las Vegas illustrated the nearly universal tone of current press attention to the research issue. It exclaimed, “The government won’t fund research on gun violence because of NRA lobbying.” A Times editorial charged that Washington has “hobbled basic research into what is clearly a public health disaster.” Articles and commentaries along such lines appeared at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere.

In an Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed, Mark L. Rosenberg, founding director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, warned that “we are asking lawmakers to make decisions without data.” He stipulated that we “need to find things that work to both reduce gun violence and protect gun rights.” He reported that CDC “houses the largest collection of violence prevention professionals of any place in the world.” After observing that automobile safety research has saved more than a third of a million lives “without banning cars,” he asserted that investments in “gun violence prevention research through CDC can yield results that are every bit as impressive.”

At the Los Angeles Times in 2016 and again after Las Vegas, Pulitzer Prize–holding columnist Michael Hiltzik, rejecting the notion that the Dickey Amendment constitutes an actual block to research, condemned what he called “a succession of pusillanimous CDC directors.” He charges that they “decided that the safest course bureaucratically was simply to zero out the whole field.” He advocates forcing an end to what he calls the NRA’s “stranglehold on science.” Read more here http://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.3.20171018a/full/

Please stand with me, LaRaisha, to end the stranglehold on the research necessary to solve the epidemic of gun violence and mass murder in our country. Put your politics aside and work to ensure a better future for our children.

We, the undersigned, call on the United States Government to immediately fund and allow the Center for Disease Control to continue research to find a cure for the countrywide epidemic of gun violence, and to review and amend all legislation pertaining to how guns are obtained.

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The END THE WAR ON GUN SCIENCE petition to The White House was written by LaRaisha Dionne and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.