During each of the past ten years, an average of 32,000 people died from the flu. This certainly qualifies influenza as a major threat to public health. The federal government has responded in kind, spending approximately $430 million on flu research, vaccinations, and education every year. Given this high fatality rate, it's hard to imagine anyone arguing that such funding is undeserved.It makes perfect sense that the NRA and their fanatical adherents would want to prevent these types of studies. What do you think?
What if there were a second public health threat that killed an equal number of Americans each year, but instead of combating it, Congress explicitly banned research into its causes?
This seems absurd and irresponsible, but it is exactly what happened nearly two decades ago with research on gun violence. In 1996 Republicans in Congress imposed a ban on federal funding to support research into the underlying causes and prevention of gun violence, which kills more than 30,000 Americans a year.
This is why when Congress reconvenes after the presidential inauguration, House Republicans should immediately bring President Obama's gun safety plan to a vote.
In the same way that research into motor vehicle accidents led to safer cars and a dramatic reduction in traffic fatalities, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) should study gun violence as the public health crisis that it is. But the National Rifle Association protested when the CDC, prior to the ban, determined that homes with guns had a significantly greater risk of gun-related homicide and suicide than those without firearms present.
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