In 1863 President Lincoln signed a congressional charter creating the National Academy of Sciences. Now, 150 years later, President Obama is enlisting NAS to implement an item in his January 16 plan to change the lives of America’s 100 million gun owners. He has directed the Centers for Disease Control to resume research on gun injuries and deaths, and the NAS’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened a public workshop last week specifically tasked with shaping the direction of the CDC’s firearm research.
Government-funded gun research was openly biased in the 1990s. CDC officials unabashedly supported gun bans, used CDC funds to advocate strict gun control, and poured millions of taxpayer dollars into funding “research” that was in fact advocacy — thinly disguised medical-journal hit pieces against gun ownership. Congress investigated and in 1997 forbade the use of CDC funds “to advocate or promote gun control.”
This week’s IOM workshop (which I attended via webcast) was moderated and mostly led by longtime anti-gun researchers. “We’ve suffered through 20 years,” complained Jon Vernick, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg (yes, that Bloomberg) School of Public Health. He was referring to the period — 16 years, actually — since Congress cut off federal funding for his project’s research on guns, which never seemed to find anything good about guns or gun owners.