San Bernardino Shooting Prompts Congress To Reconsider 20-Year Ban On Gun Violence Research In The U.S.

San Bernardino shooting

In an attempt to push through research on gun violence, members of the Congress joined gun violence scientists and physicians in their aim to end the Dickey Amendment. The Dickey Amendment is a 20-year law that bans people from conducting scientific research about gun violence.

Rep. David Price, who is the vice chair to the House of Representatives’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said that gun violence is among the “most difficult public health challenges” the country is facing today.

One reason this has been the case for so long is because there is a ban on related research, which means that not enough people are educated about gun violence.

“Regardless of where we stand in the debate over gun violence, we should all be able to agree that this debate should be informed by objective data and robust scientific research,” said Price in the press conference.

The Doctors of America led the conference on Wednesday, where they presented a petition to ban the law and finally allow research for gun violence. The petition was signed by over 2,000 physicians from the country’s 50 states.

Coincidentally, the press event ended just before news broke out that more than a dozen people were killed in a shooting in a San Bernardino regional center. Fourteen people were killed and 17 sustained injuries after two armed men entered a conference hall at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, and opened fire.

The purpose of the center is to help people with developmental disabilities and give them support and assistance in order for them to live normal lives.

Two suspects have reportedly been killed in the manhunt that the authorities conducted later in the day while one was detained.

Almost a week ago, three people were killed in another shooting that took place at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

According to a Reddit post that tracks gun-related incidents in which at least four victims and the shooter are killed, there are already 351 mass shootings listed in 2015 as of November 30.

Statistics reveal that the total number of mass shootings this year has gone up so drastically that when distributed among the days of the year, it would mean that more than one mass shooting takes place every day.

Veteran journalist Dan Rather shared his take on the increasing number of shooting incidents in the country, saying that this is already a “public health” issue that scientists should look into.

Rather said that more and more Americans are being killed and in large numbers. The American people should do something about it and not just “shrug” their shoulders as if it were just “another sad day.”

Image via Facebook

“This is a problem we can’t afford not to solve. It is a contagion that needs a plan of treatment. Now,” he said in the open letter he shared on Facebook.

Unfortunately, no concrete action would ever take place unless the ban caused by the Dickey Amendment is lifted and gun violence scientists are given elbow room to study the phenomenon.

Since 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have been kept silent in terms of gun violence research. As a result, legislators and even policy makers are having a difficult time making new laws to prevent gun-related violence.

The press conference on Wednesday is not the first time that officials have made a call to end the law and push through with gun violence studies.

After the Connecticut shooting in 2012 where 20 children and six members of school staff were killed, Pres. Barack Obama himself signed an executive order to restore funds for gun violence scientists to use. Unfortunately, the Congress has denied all types of funding for the research.

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]