It has been four years since the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which took the lives of 28 people, many of them children, and the shooter, Adam Lanza. Since that day, there have been over 200 other shooting incidents at schools across the country, despite some progress on legislation aimed at curtailing gun violence at the state level. On the Federal level, partisan gridlock and a resilient gun lobby have kept any significant legislation on gun violence from being possible.
Conservatives often boil down arguments about the Second Amendment to questions of whether legislation does nothing to curtail gun violence. Ironically, though, these same lawmakers also consistently undermine efforts to allow funding to go toward research that would answer those very questions.
The Dickey Amendment, which was passed in 1996, has effectively prevented the CDC from studying the effects of gun violence by preventing any funding from going toward research that could be used to "advocate or promote gun control." You may have seen John Oliver take aim at the Amendment (and the NRA's efforts to keep it in place) in a segment on his show over the summer. It's the reason for this sort of disparity:
Any scientist or researcher will tell you the importance of data and research. Which is why the ban on gun violence research hits home when approached by scientists and those with STEM backgrounds. As a letter from Doctors for America earlier this year put it:
Unfortunately, recent efforts to repeal the Dickey Amendment have fallen flat, but there are signs of hope for a bipartisan compromise. Jay Dickey (R-AR), the namesake of the Dickey Amendment, actually supports lifting the ban, and Democrats have vowed to keep pushing for a repeal. And with a new Presidential administration taking the reins in just over a month, there are opportunities to seek compromise.
This is where you can help. Join us on social media by tweeting at and tagging President Elect Trump's choice for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, with the following message:
It's up to Sessions, the man who will be placed in charge of our country's law enforcement, to show his support for a bipartisan effort to let scientists do their jobs. With your help, we can send a message that we will not tolerate a lack of action on gun violence.