Lawmakers Want State, Federal Tax Dollars for Gun Control Research

The NRA is warning that lawmakers in California are moving forward with plans to create a taxpayer funded gun control research center to be run out of the University of California, according to this story from NRAILA.org.

While some gun control proponents like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are trying to push gun control research into the CDC's purview, they and other anti-gunners also are setting their sights on state tax dollars. A bill introduced by Sen. Lois Wolk in February, SB 1006, would "establish a Firearm Violence Research Center at the University of California. The bill is co-authored by State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), of incoherent "ghost gun" press conference fame.

“Should SB 1006 be adopted, given the California State Legislature’s ongoing efforts to push the constitutional limits of gun restrictions, it is unlikely elected officials will be concerned with safeguarding taxpayer funds from being used for outright advocacy. In fact, the legislation makes clear that a goal of the taxpayer-funded center will be to influence lawmakers, stating, ‘The center shall work on a continuing basis with policymakers in the Legislature and state agencies to identify, implement, and evaluate innovative firearm violence prevention policies and programs.’”

But the NRA's big concern is a letter sent to the a senate subcommittee on March 17 from a group of 15 senators, including Schumer and Feinstein, regarding using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do research on gun violence using federal funding.

The letter was sent to Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies., urging them to include $10 million for CDC research “on the causes and prevention of gun violence” in the Department of Health and Human Services Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations.

Currently, there is long-standing language supported by the NRA that prohibits the use of CDC funds to advocate or promote gun control. The letter also urges lawmakers to remove this language.

Subcommittee Chairman and Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole (R-Moore) is quoted in the post as emphasizing the importance of "ensur[ing] that precious taxpayer dollars are not wasted on politically-motivated activities outside the mission of the CDC, such as promoting gun control or lobbying local communities to ban the consumption of certain products."

The NRA says that, in the past, CDC-funded anti-gun research proved to be "severely flawed" and goes on to point out that there seems to be no real reason to use taxpayer dollars to fund such research.

“There is no shortage of privately available funds for anti-gun research. This is evidenced by the advocacy of the Michael Bloomberg. The billionaire media mogul generously funds the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Gun Policy and Research. According to the New York Times, as of 2013, Bloomberg had provided the university with $1.1 billion in gifts.”

“In addition to Bloomberg, a bevy of private institutes and foundations offer funding to those interested in advocating for gun control. Perhaps the best known of these organizations is the Joyce Foundation, who funds the work of the handgun prohibitionist group Violence Policy Center and the anti-gun Harvard Injury Control Research Center. In 2013, the foundation paid $5.4 million in grants for gun control efforts. According to a 2014 financial statement, Joyce’s assets total nearly $1 billion. Moreover, this is to say nothing of various university endowments and other funding streams. In short, if there is sufficient demand for this type of advocacy research, there are sufficient private resources available for it.”

The NRA also worries about the "veneer of authenticity that taxpayer-funding provides," saying that a government-funded study might inaccurately connote authenticity and impartiality to the public.

"For gun controllers, a headline blaring 'CDC finds gun ownership [fill in the blank]' is preferable to a title about a study from a school bearing Bloomberg's name," the story says.