Kudos to Jay Dickey and Mark Rosenberg for their July 29 op-ed, “ ‘Senseless’ is not studying gun violence.” As a U.S. representative, Mr. Dickey spearheaded the passage of the 1996 congressional gag order that effectively ended federal research into firearm injuries. Today he should be commended for his appeal for federal research into the prevention of gun injuries and deaths.
Studying how blood was spilled to prevent tragedy is as old as the sword, shield and helmet. Modern reiterations use statistics and science to save the lives of construction workers, farmers, assembly-line technicians and military personnel. Research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and elsewhere in government has helped everyone — from infants to senior citizens — by lowering the rates of poisonings, drownings, falls, spousal abuse and automotive-related injuries.
Members of Congress, not CDC scientists, are responsible for passing laws. If gun research resumed, findings pointing to a change in policy would certainly be hotly debated in Congress. Banning the scientific study of firearms injuries means both political parties would rather remain in the dark while tens of thousands of Americans are injured or killed by firearms each year.
Karl Moeller, Washington
The writer is executive director of the Campaign for Public Health Foundation.