Could the tragedy at UC Santa Barbara happen here? On Jan. 23, 2011, Davis: (paraphrased from a report by Suzanne Phan, [email protected]): “A 25-year-old UC Davis student was arrested after a family member told police he was armed with a rifle and was planning to hurt himself and others. Police found the suspect after an intensive search standing by his pickup truck on Fourth Street and A Street.
“Inside his truck, police found a loaded semi-automatic rifle with a telescopic sight and a loaded shotgun. He had hundreds of rounds of ammunition on his person and in his truck. He had 10 loaded magazines, according to Lt. Paul Doroshov. Each magazine had 30 rounds of rifle ammunition.”
It seems obvious that even if you are for or against gun control that more needs to be done to at least try to understand gun violence in America. But due to political pressure by the National Rifle Association, both the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been prevented from funding such studies.
Since 1996, there has been a freeze on using federal money to research gun violence in America. Congress added language to the appropriations legislation that funds the NIH, stating that “none of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.” Similar language restricts the CDC.
After the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, the president requested that this research be re-started. New legislation introduced in Congress in the past few weeks would re-start the CDC research with $10 million per year for six years. However, there is strong resistance against its passage.
An NRA spokeswoman called the push for new CDC funding “unethical.” Suppose the cigarette companies managed to block studies on lung cancer? Or car manufacturers blocked studies on car crashes? How much longer can we simply put our heads in the sand and let these massacres continue? It can happen here.