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“Our country is infuriated by the lack of action taken by Congress to combat the gun violence epidemic in America,” says Sen. Martin Heinrich, New Mexico Democrat, who is calling for “repeal of the Dickey Amendment,” a 1996 measure that restricted the federal Centers for Disease Control from spending public funds to research what Heinrich calls “gun violence and its effect on public health.” And “lifting this ban will finally allow scientists to research solutions and give lawmakers the tools to make fact-based decisions on how to prevent the next tragedy.” Taxpayers have good reason to be wary.
One champion of more government spending is Garen Wintemute, director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, which gets $5 million in state funding. As Wintemute explained, the first project would be “a survey that looks at who owns guns, why they own them and how they use firearms.” In Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State” author Stephen P. Halbrook compiled data on the way Adolph Hitler’s Germany restricted firearms. The Nazis also wanted to know “who owns guns” and they ruthlessly suppressed firearm ownership by disfavored groups. Californians have good cause to wonder if California’s new gun laws, with their heavy-handed restrictions and database of ammunition owners, resemble in any way the gun laws of National Socialist Germany.
Wintemute and Heinrich might try this experiment. See if they can get the police to their house faster than a pizza. The basic issue here is not public health but criminality, and spending more on the already bloated $5.6 billion CDC will have little if any effect on violent criminals, who do not obey gun laws. Taxpayers might also recall Major Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who in 2009 at Fort Hood used privately purchased handguns to murder 13 unarmed soldiers and wound more than 30 others. The Obama administration called this “workplace violence.” The politically correct “gun violence” is every bit as absurd.