Ask your MoCs to fund research allowing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to study the effects of gun violence.
This post originally called for asking MoCs to repeal the Dickey Amendment, a 1996 law named for then-House Rep Jay Dickey, a Republican from Arkansas, which stated: “None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.”
The Dickey amendment effectively stopped the CDC from researching the causes of gun violence and identifying ways to curtail it. It also effectively stopped the CDC from treating its epidemic of gun violence as, well, an epidemic, aka a public health problem.
But! The $1.3 trillion “omnibus” bill that Trump signed on Friday, March 23, 2018, contained a clarification in its ancillary materials that said the following: “While appropriations language prohibits the CDC and other agencies from using appropriated funding to advocate or promote gun control, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has stated the CDC has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.”
There’s the good news. The CDC is explicitly free to study what causes gun violence.
Now the bad news. The bill that was just passed? The bill that outlined $1.3 trillion in spending? It didn’t include any money for the CDC to research gun violence.
Time to call your MoCs and ask them to write a bill that gives the CDC money to study this important public health issue.
Sample script: “Dear [House Rep/Senator Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname from town, state]. I am happy that the recently passed omnibus spending bill made it clear that the Center for Disease Control is free to study the causes of gun violence. Unfortunately, the bill did not include any funding for CDC research on this. I am asking you and your colleagues to consult with medical researchers and come up with a bill that would allow the CDC to get started on this important work. Thank you.”
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Read a March 22, 2018 article from The Atlantic that describes gun control measures in the omnibus spending bill:
Read a March 23, 2018 Washington Post piece on the same topic:
Read about HHS Secretary Azar’s openness to letting the CDC resume research on gun violence:
Read a June 2016 piece from The Daily Beast on John Oliver demanding the repeal of the Dickey amendment following the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida:
Read a February 2018 article from The Atlantic on how the Dickey amendment has hobbled the CDC for decades:
A note: We at OTYCD intend to nurture and encourage the movement sparked by the Margory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting by devoting one post at least every other week to gun safety-related issues.
The reason that the NRA has a death grip on Congress, and in particular, GOP Congressfolk, is that NRA members get off their asses and call if there’s a whisper of a muttering of a hint that a law might pass that could impose even the slightest imposition on ownership of guns in America.
That’s what the politicians are afraid of. It’s not just that some of them get metric buttloads of money for their campaigns from the NRA. Those who embrace the NRA’s outlook pounce on their phones and berate their representatives the instant they think their beloved guns are under threat.
So, yes, it’s on us to shout back.
We have to adopt the tactics of those who support the NRA.
We have to call our representatives often to make it damn clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and we want common-sense gun safety laws.
OTYCD will start out with one weekday post every two weeks, at minimum, that has to do with improving gun safety and pushing back against the NRA.
We do this in honor of the Parkland victims, and all victims of mass shootings in America, and everyone who has been fighting to change our laws on firearms all along.
If Trump finally bows to the will of Congress and imposes the sanctions against Russia for messing with the 2016 election, we will switch to devoting one post per week to these issues.
Honor the victims of the Parkland shooting, and all other shootings, by stepping up and calling your reps about common-sense gun safety laws, and by supporting politicians who have low grades from the NRA, and voting out those who do the NRA’s bidding.
#NeverAgain. For the love of all that is right and good, Never Again.