The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) is a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention located in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. One of the primary interest areas of the NCIPC is to reduce injuries from firearms. In carrying out this otherwise laudable mandate, the NCIPC has demonstrated a continuing and almost vicious sentiment against personal firearms ownership that is reflected in the lack of objectivity and balance in its work.
Taxpayer dollars are supporting unadulterated anti-gun political advocacy through the research grants awarded by NCIPC. The Center provided a grant to the Trauma Foundation to publish a clearly anti-gun newsletter entitled Injury Prevention Network Newsletter. Among other political activities, the newsletter calls on the reader to "put gun control on the agenda of your civic or professional organization," to "make your support for...gun laws known to your representatives," and to "organize a picket at gun manufacturing sites...." This does not constitute scientific research by any standards, and your tax dollars are paying for it!
NCIPC`s political bent renders all research emanating from the CDC suspect, and it taints the otherwise well-respected track record that CDC has in its traditional role as the protector of the Nation against communicable disease. Even the NCIPC Director, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, has let a political agenda blur the CDC`s science-based mandate: In the December, 1993, issue of Rolling Stone magazine, he stated that he "envisions a long term campaign, similar to tobacco use and auto safety, to convince Americans that guns are, first and foremost, a public health menace." Law-abiding gun owners are not a public health menace, criminals with or without guns constitute the real threat to our country`s societal fabric and safety.
The firearms "research" generated out of NCIPC is methodologically flawed on the most basic level. NCIPC claims that in the next few years firearms may exceed vehicle deaths as the major cause of death among certain age groups. However, NCIPC fails to point out that virtually all motor vehicle-related deaths are accidental, while only a small number of firearms-related deaths are.
By comparing "apples to apples," the NCIPC`s approach to public health and safety is left wanting -- between 1968-1991 the decline in motor vehicle-related deaths fell short, compared to all other major types of accidental death. While the motor vehicle-related accidental fatality per capita rate declined 37% between 1968-1991, non-motor vehicle public deaths declined 38%, home accidents declined 41%, work accidents 49%, and firearm-related accidents 50%.
The NCIPC speaks only to the alleged possible risks associated with firearms ownership, while it refuses to recognize the benefits of lawful firearms ownership to society. For instance, no one argues that we should eliminate motor vehicles from our society, since the transportation benefits are the focus of most discussions surrounding cars. The latest, most in-depth research suggests that firearms are used as often as 2.4 million times a year for self-defense against criminal attack, usually by simply brandishing the firearm. (Kleck, G., Gertz, M. Armed resistance to crime: the prevalence and nature of self-defense with a gun. J. Crim. L. & Criminology, 1995; vol. 85.)
The NCIPC duplicates functions on injury prevention measures that are already adequately addressed by various federal agencies, such as:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- The National Institute of Justice
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
- National Institute of Health
- Consumer Product Safety Commission, and
- FEMA`s United States Fire Administration.
In this era of budget cutting, it makes fiscal sense to centralize research efforts in order to ensure that duplication is not resulting in a waste of valuable tax dollars. Those few cases where NCIPC is truly undertaking research efforts that are not adequately addressed elsewhere, can certainly be absorbed into existing federal agencies. The previously mentioned government agencies are just a few examples of agencies that could assume the type of research now undertaken by NCIPC.