This summer, it seems that the Los Angeles Times started a shockwave of gun grabbing outrage when they published an article by Michael Hiltzik blaming the NRA for blocking gun violence research over the past couple decades. It’s not the first article that has touched on the subject this year, but it certainly has fueled the ire of many gun control advocates.
This horribly slanted article seems to suggest that a lack of recent gun violence research caused the horrible Orlando massacre. Hiltzik notes: “The Orlando massacre reminds us that there’s an enormous amount we don’t know about gun violence – what causes it, what its consequences are for surviving families, how to stop it. You can blame our ignorance on the National Rifle Assn. – and on the federal officials the NRA has intimidated away from this crucial field of public health for 20 years.”
The premise of this opening paragraph is severely flawed. If there is such a void on gun research as this article suggests, why is it that every other month, the New York Times reports on a new gun violence study? The truth is that many state agencies and non-profit organizations (on both sides of the aisle) have funded gun violence research of their own, so there is no need for the federal government to waste tax dollars on it. Either anti-gun activists are ignorant to all of this research or they disagree with the studies that have already been published and want to influence the development of brand-new, skewed research.
The article goes on to describe how, after the Newtown massacre in 2012, “President Obama issued an executive order instructing the CDC [Center for Disease Control and Prevention] to ‘conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it,’” but the CDC would not conduct the research until it received the funding to do so. Hiltzik goes so far as to accuse Congress of acting as the “NRA’s cat’s-paw” by “repeatedly rejecting bills to provide $10 million for the work.”
My heart goes out to the families whose lives have been torn by gun violence, but is it really necessary to spend federal government funds to research it? Sadly, we have plenty of recent case studies to figure out what causes gun violence and to understand the horrific consequences for the families of its victims.
One lesson we have learned is that there is no universal solution to the problem. As recent tragedies have demonstrated, gun violence can stem from as varied motives as jihadism, mental health issues and social pressures.
If the purpose of the research is to figure out the most effective form of gun control, then advocates will be disappointed even if the government decides to sponsor research. Gun control laws assume that everyone actually follows the law, which reality consistently proves is a false assumption. Bad people, like the Orlando gunman who had ties to radical Islam, don’t follow laws and couldn’t care less if the Second Amendment was repealed. They will find a gun through theft or the black market if they have to.
As a result, no amount of gun control will ever eliminate the gun violence that is perpetrated by these heartless criminals. All that we can do is make sure good people (the kind that follow the law) have access to firearms, know how to handle a them safely and have legal protection if they are forced to defend themselves or their families.
Another interesting dynamic of this debate is the fact that gun grabbers have called for the CDC to fund gun control studies. Why the CDC and not the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms?
Politics, of course.
Rather than highlighting the issues of the individual gun owner, anti-gun politicians like to paint gun ownership as a public health crisis. In doing so, they can pretend to fight against gun violence through blanket gun control laws and vilify all gun owners in the process.
If politicians were courageous and/or patient enough to tackle the root cause of gun violence rather than rehash failed gun control policies, we might be able to put a stop to massacres like the one we saw in Orlando. Then again, it’s a lot easier just to blame the NRA.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.