Hey Congress, get your head out of the sand - approve CDC research on gun violence

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head in sandIn light of the terrible shooting at Umpqua College in Roseburg, Oregon, I am reposting my June Morning Zen article about Representative Nina Lowey's (D-N.Y.) failed attempt to include an amendment that would have reversed a nearly 20-year-old ban on funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct research on gun violence. Specifically, the amendment would have struck Section 216 from the bill (Section 216 prohibits funds from being used to advocate or promote gun control).

We have a Congress that continues to stop any effort to allow the CDC to conduct research on the gun violence. For those in Congress who speak of "doing something now" to stem the tide of mass shootings, I have an idea for you – Reverse the nearly 20-year-old ban on funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct research on gun violence. Anything we can do to develop a better understanding of the root causes of gun violence would qualify as a worthy investment of federal dollars, don't you think?

Hold your representatives feet to the fire on this issue, Network faithful. Over the past two years, we have seen a dramatic uptick in the political debate about mental health reform. The debate has at times blatantly, and other times, more subtly, made the connection between mental illness and violence. This connection continues to be made, in spite of the research showing that people with mental illness are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crime. Using the fear tactics inherent in connecting mental illness and violence while simultaneously blocking funding for research to understand better gun violence is not only disingenuous, it is unforgivable.In June of this year, the House Appropriations Committee voted 19-32 against ranking member Rep. Nita Lowey's (D-N.Y.) amendment to a bill that would fund health, education and labor programs in the next fiscal year. Representative Lowey's amendment would have reversed a nearly 20-year-old ban on funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct research on gun violence. Specifically, the amendment would have struck Section 216 from the bill (Section 216 prohibits funds from being used to advocate or promote gun control) and this section of text from the accompanying report(page 47-48):

For readers who have congressional representatives that continue to invoke a mental illness - violence connection, yet pride themselves on being forward thinking about mental health reform, time for a gut check.

Put on your advocacy hat, pick up the phone and call your representatives office. Ask them what they think about the wisdom of blocking a proposal that would have reversed a nearly 20-year-old ban on funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct research on gun violence. Ask them if they think this action falls in line with their publicly-held position on the connection between guns, violence and mental illness. Ask them, regardless of their position on gun violence and mental illness, if they think it would be a good idea to get a better handle on understanding the increasing gun violence in America. Ask them if they are committed to designing mental health legislation that incorporates sound research on gun violence. Remind them that the current mental health reform proposal in the House (H.R. 2646) “requires” family members of mentally ill individuals who have committed violent acts to be involved in decision-making around government grants focused on mental illness. Then ask them again, if they think it would be important to include sound research to better understand gun violence in America.

Hold your representatives feet to the fire on this issue, Network faithful. Over the past two years, we have seen a dramatic uptick in the political debate about mental health reform. The debate has at times blatantly, and other times, more subtly, made the connection between mental illness and violence. This connection continues to be made, in spite of the research showing that people with mental illness are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crime. Using the fear tactics inherent in connecting mental illness and violence while simultaneously blocking funding for research to understand better gun violence is not only disingenuous, it is unforgivable.

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scott

Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
Children's Mental Health Network

Comments

  1. Sue Ellen Burts's avatar
    Sue Ellen Burts
    | Permalink
    Education. Education. Education. Safety is the United issue. It is poor mental health care that is a big part of the issue. Take away guns, they'll make canister bombs, fires, etc. Instilling fear on society is an epidemic. And pills to fix pills and I'll gotten behavior with good excuses just isn't cutting it. Let's all grow up and hold miss treatment in whole health care and abuse by insurance and pharmaceutical companies (biggest drug cartel) injustice who govern what Dr's do accountable. And the lack if consistent proven practice treatments. There is proof that a brain program is something that works. WOW, it's time to realize just because b you might get a job out of this that you couldn't manage before helping the youth, doesn't mean you sell you souls for the pay and benefits. They induced the issues and illnesses with they're practice. Careful of their slippery slope methods or you could find you on the wrong band wagon.
  2. Kevin Dwyer's avatar
    Kevin Dwyer
    | Permalink
    We should never have allowed the NRA to hold research by CDC hostage and to outlaw many preventive interventions that doctors and others could use to curtail firearm access in homes. We must get to families and friends to heighten their concerns about dangerous thoughts or early warning signs of violence. Facebook and other social media could help heighten the public's awareness about what to look for and what to do to prevent such violence. We must also address the gun violence in communities burdened by poverty and crime. Every day people are killed unnoticed by the media, invisible to us. These tragedies also need to be prevented and can be with long term efforts through education and through partnerships with families. Let us continue to fight with our words, letters and research!
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