Forbidding the use of specific words and phrases isn't the first time there has been an attempt to manipulate the public health conversation.
Gun violence is a public health crisis, taking the lives of more than 33,000 people in America each year. Yet there is a
ban on research and studies of gun violence that disallows the CDC to collect vital empirical data that could save thousands of lives.
, which enables the ban on gun violence research, is a provision first inserted as a rider into the 1996 federal government omnibus spending bill which mandated that
"none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control."
The amendment was introduced after
lobbying by the National Rifle Association in response to their perceived bias in a 1993 study that found that guns in the home were associated with an increased risk of homicide in the home, as well as other CDC funded studies and efforts.
Because of this ban, the CDC has very limited resources in which to conduct comprehensive studies. Learn more about
why the ban on gun violence research is a public health issue
, why doctors continue to condemn it, and what you can do about it. Even former Rep. Jay Dickey, the Republican congressman from Arkansas who authored the amendment, has regrets about it.
As Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said in response to
another vital petition
urging Congress to stop blocking gun violence research following the Las Vegas massacre, "The CDC must be allowed to study gun deaths just as they study any other cause of death in this country."
Tell Congress to end the ban and to appropriate funds to allow the CDC to conduct this crucial research.