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Anti-Gun Researchers Saddling Up to Ride Again

Friday, June 7, 2013

With the racetrack dust having barely settled after this year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and with the final leg of the Triple Crown--the Belmont Stakes--scheduled for this weekend, we can't help but marvel at the incredible ability of a horse, with 120 pounds on its back, to sustain better than a 35 mph pace over up to 1½ miles, often topping 40 mph in the home stretch.

But no matter how big an appetite the world's fastest three-year-old Thoroughbreds work up during "the most exciting two minutes in sports," they haven't got a thing on gun control supporters in the public health field, when it comes to jockeying for position at the feeding trough.

That's because the feeding trough the gun control supporters are galloping toward isn't one that's filled with oats; it's one that President Obama wants filled with your tax dollars. In January, Obama issued a memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a new "gun violence" research agenda "to improve knowledge of the causes of gun violence, the interventions that prevent gun violence, and strategies to minimize the public health burden of gun violence," and asked Congress to fund the research to the tune of $10 million.

In April, anti-gun public health researchers who spent millions conducting junk science gun control advocacy research in the 1990s, until Congress prohibited the use of federal funds for that purpose, assembled in Washington, D.C.  The forum was a panel convened by the Institute of Medicine, on behalf of the CDC, to develop an agenda for gun-related issues the CDC would like to "study" on the taxpayers' dime.

This week, the researchers--including many of the same people who performed the research in the 1990s--made the resulting agenda public. And what an agenda it is, consisting of a whopping 14 "priorities" and more than 50 subordinate topics, including collecting data about gun ownership, acquisition, and use; issues related to prohibiting private firearm sales; issues related to mandatory storage requirements; and the potential for mandating that guns possess "smart gun" technology--though, to its credit, the agenda recognizes that many gun owners would disable "smart" technology in the interest of improving their firearms' reliability. (Also to the panel's credit, the report recognizes that defensive gun uses are common and worthy of further study, as urged by an NRA representative at the meeting.)

How $10 million would cover the vast amount of research proposed remains to be seen. Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the most prolific anti-gun researchers in the public health field over the last decade, lamented to the New York Times, "given that we are in very lean budget times, the CDC will be faced with difficult decisions about setting priorities."

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