Since the 1990s, the National Rifle Association and its allies have fought to kill any kind of restrictions on gun ownership. The gun lobby has also helped to “block basic data collection, to the point that there’s ‘no current scientific consensus about guns and violence,’ in large part because the NRA “has been able to neutralize empirical cases for control.”
During the Clinton Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began treating gun violence and gun-related deaths as a public health issue, so “conservatives in Congress added language to the appropriations bill that finances the CDC: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” That language has not changed. The CDC currently has $0 in funds for gun violence prevention research.
After the Sandy Hook shootings, many policymakers expressed interest in revisiting the ban, but that was last year, and the status quo has returned. Regardless of the different ideological views involved in the gun debate, it’s clear we need to learn more about gun violence if we hope to address it properly.