In reporting about a stunning new bit of research regarding background check laws and how they might impede suicide prevention, Fox News may have inadvertently helped revive a controversy about which anti-gunners have been in denial for years.
The story came a few days after a medical student wrote at the KevinMD website wrote that “A coalition of 141 medical groups is urging Congress in D.C. to repeal the ban on firearm research. Join them. Speak up. End gun violence.”
But years ago, Capitol Hill put the brakes on questionable firearm research because it had allegedly become more about advocacy than actual science. And the advocacy was decidedly against firearms, critics asserted.
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The gun prohibition lobby has vehemently denied this, but the other day, Fox News’ story about suicide prevention quoted Ted Alcorn, with Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety lobbying organization. Alcorn reportedly wrote in a letter, “In the 1980s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiated research on firearm injuries, but, in 1996, Congress forbade the agency from spending funds to ‘advocate or promote gun control.’ Its spending on firearm injury research fell 96 percent by 2012.”
Analyze that for just a moment. Because Congress prohibited the CDC from spending funds to “advocate or promote gun control,” its spending on firearms research plummeted, and this was according to a fellow working for a gun control lobbying group.
Does that sound like since the CDC could no longer spend money on gun control advocacy, it virtually stopped spending money on the research?
Everytown is largely funded by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg. The organization this year spent a whopping amount of money to push gun control legislation in Nevada, Maine and Washington. Maine rejected a “universal background check” measure while Nevada passed one barely. Washington passed an “extreme risk protection order” initiative.
According to The Trace, the “ballot initiative requiring background checks on private gun sales passed in Nevada, where the $16 million funneled into the effort by Everytown for Gun Safety and Independence USA far surpassed the $6.5 million spent by the NRA to try to defeat the measure.”
In Maine, the story said, Everytown spent $5.6 million. In Washington, Everytown spent $550,000.
But there may be an unintended consequence to overly restrictive background check laws, according to the Fox News story, and the research that inspired the report. JAMA Internal Medicine published the research, which suggests, among other findings, that gun control laws requiring background checks for even temporary transfers of firearms may hamper suicide prevention efforts, according to Fox News.
That suggestion got the attention of gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. Earlier this year, he championed legislation aimed at suicide prevention in Washington, where two years ago, he battled passage of Initiative 594, which now requires so-called “universal background checks” on gun transfers in the Evergreen State.
This was no flash in Gottlieb’s pan, either. Over the course of several months in 2015, Gottlieb had been meeting quietly with suicide prevention advocates not only to find “common ground” but also to come up with an effort to save lives. Legislation was introduced during the 2016 session of the Washington State Legislature by State Rep. Tina Orwall and backed by Jennifer Stuber, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work and faculty director of Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention. Gottlieb twice traveled to Olympia to testify in support of the bill. It passed almost unanimously in both the state House and Senate, and was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Meanwhile, the gun control agenda got virtually no traction.
Some two-thirds of firearms-related deaths in this country are suicides. Second Amendment advocates insist these deaths are unfairly combined with homicide statistics by gun prohibitionists to create the illusion that there is an epidemic of “gun violence” in this country.
At the end of the research report in JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers note, “Public health professionals and firearm organizations should collaborate to develop tailored and effective messaging that is acceptable to physicians, mental health professionals, and the public. Policy changes should also be evaluated to assess whether they have the intended effect of reducing firearm suicides.”
This makes more sense than passing a string of gun control laws that have questionable impacts on crime, and only make it more difficult for honest citizens to exercise their rights.
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