Every mass shooting, especially at schools, prompts anguished cries and call to action. For a start, lets at least change the rules forbidding this to be looked at as a public health issue.
As a native of a country (UK) where it’s almost impossible to get a hand gun in particular and shootings are very rare (there are 0.23 gun deaths per 100,000 people compared with 10.54 in the US) I marvel at the gun culture of the US; and how each wave of outrage comes to nothing – in large part because organizations like the NRA, with lots of money to influence politicians, seem to put the kibosh on any attempt at change.
The most egregious is that we – or the CDC - are stopped from even looking into the business of gun violence.
The Dickey Amendment to a spending bill in 1996 forbade funds being provided that would advocate or promote gun control. Despite Congressman Dickey having since reversed his position, the CDC is still forbidden funds to look in to anything that might curtail the public health issue of injuries from gun violence (unlike seat belts, bike helmets, fire retardants, clean water etc).
A letter signed by 141 medical organizations, the American Public Health Association, and even the American Medical Association, has called for funding to be restored to the CDC for this research.
Seems an eminently sensible and logical first step to me.
There is much debate about the arguments as to why guns should or shouldn’t be restricted (for a sound debunking of most of them, see the article by David Edward Burke president of Citizenstakeaction, in the Huff Post on line).
Treating guns like any other public health issue and looking for preventive strategies seems a pretty non-threatening first step to me. Something to get on our lawmakers to do.
There’s a lot of money and momentum to overcome, but with enough public agitation maybe it would be possible to get our pathetic politicians to actually do something?