The American Medical Association is calling gun violence a “public health crisis” and says it will actively lobby Congress to overturn 20-year-old legislation that blocks the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) from research on gun violence, according to NPR.
This comes days after the deadliest mass shooting our country has seen, which took place in Orlando, Florida at the LGBT Pulse nightclub killing 49 people and injuring 53 more. Since the attack, hundreds of thousands across the globe have come out to pay tribute with vigils and rainbow flags, and now AMA president Steven Stack is pushing for Congress to act.
“Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries,” Stack said in a statement.
This ban on funding research into gun violence started back in 1996 with the NRA (National Rifle Association) lobbied Congress to ban any gun violence research that could be used to endorse gun control.
“[It] wasn’t necessary that all research stop. It just couldn’t be the collection of data so that they can advocate gun control. That’s all we were talking about. But for some reason, it just stopped altogether.” The author of the legislation, then-Rep. Jay Dickey, R-Arkansas, told NPR back in October.
Just one month after the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012 in which a 20-year-old gunman fatally shot 20 children at their elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama ordered the CDC to resume research that would assess the causes of gun violence. Though, last year the Washington Post reported that despite the lift on the ban, no action was being taken because of a lack of resources.
The AMA, which lobbies on behalf of doctors, adopted the new policy Tuesday in their annual meeting in Chicago, noting that they will push to ensure action is taken.
“With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence,” Stack said in a statement.