The questions that surround the issues of gun safety have resurfaced again since the recent shootings in Arizona. (Luo) Are background checks enough to help prevent shooting violence? Do guns that have the capacity to fire several rounds without having to reload have any influence on the number of deaths that occur due to shootings? Should mental health be screened further as a preventative safety measure? It is suggested that perhaps we the American people will never know.
According to scientists and former government officials that were part of the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, which is a division of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the answers to these questions and many more surrounding the safety issues involving guns have been hampered due to the deficiency of funding for research. Any progress that was being made has been obstructed, which has created a shortage of data and stifled the Center’s ability to answer any questions that emerge about the connections between violence and guns. The reason for the lack of funding is due to the National Riffle Association’s influence on Capitol Hill. (Luo) I find it peculiar that an association seems to bolster such an excessive amount of clout in Washington that they have assumed an empowered position to speak on the behalf of the American populace. Upon further pondering; where is the voice that represents the portion of Americans who view gun safety research as valuable? Who can see that it may indeed serve as a benefit helping us to devise methods which could potentially reduce the amount of violence committed with guns, thereby assisting our nation in protecting citizens more effectively? Since the NRAs stance is that they have the right to bear arms while simultaneously promoting public safety makes their opposition to any research that could provide the public with more safety absurd. If we look at the tobacco industry we clearly see that the manufactures that make tobacco products help fund and provide research on the use of their product, not hinder it. We the people have access to that information, and our right to choose whether or not we use tobacco products remains in our hands.
In the mid 1990s, when the NRA became aware of the centers assertion that having a gun in the home significantly increased the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate partner, they set out on a campaign lobbying in Washington to put a halt to all further studies. Chris Cox, the former chief lobbyist for the NRA said their “goal wasn’t to stop legitimate scientific research, just the politically slanted ones”, accusing the Center of saying that “gun ownership was a disease that needed to be eradicated.” He also asserts that when it comes to gun safety issues the Center’s research wasn’t a bona fide concern of medical science. (Luo)
The NRA hurled sharp criticisms at the center accusing them of publishing politically biased opinions that were not based...