Sunday, October 25, 2009

CDC circumvents gun research ban

From a Washington Times editorial:
For a decade, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been forbidden by Congress from doing research on gun-control issues. Such piddling hurdles as federal law don't matter to the Obama administration.

With a wave of a hand, the CDC has simply redefined gun-control research so the ban no longer applies. They're not researching guns; they're researching alcohol sales and their impact on gun violence, or researching how teens carrying guns affect the rates of non-gun injuries. "These particular grants do not address gun control; rather they deal with the surrounding web of circumstances," wrote National Institutes of Health (NIH) spokesman Don Ralbovsky.
The research on right-to-carry laws illustrates the problem with the CDC. Dozens of refereed academic studies by economists and criminologists using national data have been published in journals. While the vast majority of those studies find that right-to-carry laws save lives and reduce harm to victims, some studies claim that the laws have no statistically significant effect. But most tellingly, there is not a single published refereed academic study by a criminologist or economist showing a bad effect from these laws. ...

Read the op-ed here. One of the problems with most of these funding bans is that there is no "or else" clause, i.e., don't use taxpayer funds for purpose x, or else you'll go to prison for y years, or be subject to a large z dollar fine. You know, the way other laws that apply to the people are written.

This lack of explicit "or else" consequences applies to many other areas of government. It is simply insufficient to tell a government bureaucrat "don't do this or that"; what we need are laws that say to government bureaucrats, "don't do this or that, or else these bad consequences (loss of freedom, funds, career, life) will befall you."

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