Some doctors are demanding that the federal government get back into the business of researching gun violence.
Doctors for America held a press conference in Washington on Wednesday to present a petition signed by more than 2,000 physicians from across the country asking lawmakers to reverse the Dickey Amendment, which has had the effect of keeping the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from conducting research into gun violence. The event Wednesday ended just hours before news broke of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
“It’s disappointing to me that we’ve made little progress in the past 20 years in finding solutions to gun violence,” Dr. Nina Agrawal, a pediatrician in the South Bronx, told ThinkProgress. “In my career, I’ve seen children lives saved from measles, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, motor vehicle accidents…because of federal scientific data and research. It’s frustrating that the CDC is not permitted to do the same type of research for gun violence.”
The amendment, authored by Representative Jay Dickey (R-Arkansas) in 1995 and backed by the National Rifle Association, prohibited the CDC from conducting research into gun violence using taxpayer dollars and redirected funding equivalent to an amount the Centers had planned to use for such studies. Since then, the CDC has been reluctant to engage in any gun-related research, lest Congress cut its funding. Even when President Obama asked the CDC to look into the issue after the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings, the agency held off.
The physicians and some members of…