Republicans in Congress have blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studying the root cause of the epidemic that is gun violence in the United States.
The fear of Republicans and the NRA apparently is that the doctors could conclude that the cause is the proliferation of weapons, like the AR-15 rifle, that was used by Omar Mateen on Sunday to commit the worst mass shooting in the country’s history.
The AR-15 is the country’s most popular rifle, according to the NRA, and is a huge money-maker for numerous weapons manufacturers. It is also the choice of weapon for mass murderers from Newtown to Aurora to San Bernardino to now Orlando.
As an aside, the NRA has blamed political correctness for the Orlando shooting.
So the nation’s largest organization of physicians is again calling on Congress to allow doctors to research this “public health crisis.”
The American Medical Association on Wednesday said Congress needs to pass legislation lifting the ban on allowing the Centers for Disease Control to study gun violence.
The AMA says the growing number of mass shootings in the U.S. requires “a comprehensive public health response and solution.”
The renewed call by the AMA comes after Mateen – a self-radicalized American citizens – committed the worst mass shooting in U.S. history at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando.
The AMA resolved to actively lobby Congress to overturn legislation that for 20 years has prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from researching gun violence.
“With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D.
Such research by the CDC could determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries, he said.
“An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement, and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death and other harms to society resulting from firearms,” he said.
The AMA also renewed its call for stricter enforcement of present federal and state gun safety legislation, and the imposition of mandated penalties for crimes committed with the use of a firearm, including the illegal possession of a firearm.
The ban against the CDC studying gun violence originated in 1996 as part of a rider to an appropriations bill after heavy lobbying from the National Rifle Institute.
But some experts believe that the CDC can still research gun violence.
President Obama signed an executive order a month after the Sandy Hook massacre allowing such research, but the CDC is nervous to conduct it, the conservative tabloid The Washington Examiner reports.
Dr. Seema Yasmin, a former epidemiologist at CDC, said in a Dallas Morning News op-ed that congressional bills in 2012 and 2013 blocking funding haven’t helped.