CDC and guns — here it goes again!

With the H1N1 “swine” flu season moving into full swing, and with AIDS/HIV and other deadly diseases continuing to plague millions of Americans, one might think that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), would have its hands full.  After all, the CDC “serves as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control,  .  .  .  to improve the health of the people of the United States.”  You might be inclined to think that with all that’s happening here and around the world posing very real and very serious health risks to the American citizenry, the CDC would have sense enough not to squander its resources on matters wholly unrelated to health and infectious diseases.  If you made such a presumption, you’d be flat wrong.

The CDC, like many if not all federal bureaucracies, seems always to be searching for new projects and agendas in which to involve itself.  One “problem” on which the CDC has now focussed its attention, is gun control.  That’s right.  The Centers for Disease Control is interjecting itself into the debate over control of firearms in the United States. 

The CDC has tried this before.  During the administration of former President Bill Clinton, the agency twisted the English language and impermissibly expanded its already broad jurisdiction over health and disease-related matters, in order to justify spending taxpayer money on the political agenda of gun control.  The Congress thankfully slapped CDC’s hands and stopped it from this abuse of taxpayer money and agency jurisdiction.  Well, those loveable bureaucrats at CDC are at it again. Except this time, CDC is being even more clever — disingenuous is a more accurate term — in putting the square gun-control peg into the round disease-control hole.

The CDC says it is not funding research on ”guns” or “gun control.”  Instead, a CDC spokesman says – whether with a straight face or not I don’t know, since the communication was delivered by e-mail in response to a Republican congressional inquiry – the agency is studying “the web of circumstances” (whatever that is) that surrounds gun violence.  Thus, according to this nonsensical gobbledygook, it is proper in the CDC’s eyes for it to study how alcohol sales impact gun violence or the effects of injuries sustained by teenagers as a result of gun possession.   In other words, because some people who drink alcohol also might cause an injury or death to themselves or others by misusing firearms, and since alcoholism is a “disease,” it is appropriate for the CDC to study gun control.  This subterfuge makes a mockery of the process whereby federal monies are appropriated in a way that reflects at least a colorable relationship with the agencies’ defined missions.  

Some Republicans in the Congress are raising questions about this improper expenditure of federal funds by the CDC; but as members of the minority party, there’s little they can do alone to stop it.  Moreover, considering President Obama’s personal interest in and commitment to gun control (he used to be on the board of the Joyce Foundation, one of the country’s largest funders of non-government research on gun control), it is highly unlikely to say the least that he or the House or Senate leadership will step in and force CDC to operate within its jurisdictional and funding parameters. 

However, if those citizens and advocacy groups who actually care about the rule of law raise a sufficiently loud hue and cry, perhaps enough Members of Congress in both parties will force their leaders to rein in at least this rogue agency.

74 comments Add your comment

nutjob

October 31st, 2009
10:30 am

The real thing to look at here is the straight forward fact that anytime a political agenda designed to strip freedoms and liberties away from peaceful LEGAL American citizens, uses statistics to their benefit, along with anyone associated with that agenda. There can be no un-biased use of said statistics. For if there were, no person would ever have a problem with ANY type of research regarding ANY subject. Also, instead of saying a certain subject matter is a disease in itself, why not get to the root of the problems, addiction itself. Alcoholism is not a disease, nor is any other addiction or habit.

A McBeth

October 31st, 2009
10:39 am

The problem, as I see it, with the CDC/Government ‘research’ about guns is that the conclusion is drawn (guns are ‘bad’) before the research is done. THEN the ‘research’ is done so as to support the preordained conclusion. Honest independant research has shown time and again that responsible ownership of guns INCREASES public AND individual’s safety. It’s not about disease, it’s not about guns, it’s about CONTROL. Also, it is not whether the Bush or Obama Administrations are/were “Out of Control.” The Federal Government has been OUT OF CONTROL since the end of The War Between the States changed the primary concept of national government from State’s sovereignty to massive Federalization. The application of Interstate Commerce regulation from ’strictly interstate’ to ‘theoretically and may be/might be interstate’ drove the nail in the coffin.
We could just as well blame the Air for airborn diseases as blame Guns for human’s violent acts,

Norm Winne

October 31st, 2009
12:01 pm

Gee golly liberal dopers… Listen up! This expenditure makes a lot of sense. After all we are not the ones who pay for it! We could have the Dep’t of Agriculture prosecute religious hate crimes, the Dep’t of Homeland Security promote sexual freedom, prostitution and abortion, the Dep’t of Education overlook illegal immigration, etc. etc. I think (medical) marijuana is doing a great job of blurring the lines of responsibility and accountability to the extent that we will soon have just one great mish-mash of matrix-managed “Big Government under Obama”, where no one knows who is in charge of what! WOW… won’t that be great? Every Czar, Politician, Bureaucrat and certainly democrat, will be able to point his or her finger at the other person, bureau, department or branch, and have complete immunity for any wrong doing. (like they don’t already!) WOW! A liberal doper’s utopia!!!
I have already received info from the CDC on those dastardly guns. The single shots can cause cancer, the lever actions have been linked to heart disease, the slide actions are causing H1N1 and the automatics have been linked to HIV-AIDS. (Or is it the other way around?)
Another bright shining star, Nancy Pelosi, has included in her House version of the Health Care Bill, a stipulation that may/will disqualify these dastardly Constitution freaks from getting a Health Care policy if they own a gun! WOW what a gal! I think it’s so great that she, along with you Marxists and her democrat puppets can define how people can live and what personal property they can own, in addition to what medical treatment they may receive and how long they can live. She is such a great supporter of Socialism! If I was a dictator I would definitely have her on my team!
I just want to say thanks in advance for your full agreement, but no matter how thrilled you are to read this, don’t feel compelled to respond. Al Gore told me to not read it if you disagree… anyway I’m off to DC to help celebrate Nancy’s victory over that unsuspecting middle class (they are hung up on the word “taxes”) and those old geezers that vote democrat even if they take away their pensions! (They are so screwed up!). Later…

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

October 31st, 2009
1:20 pm

Barr is, as usual, consistent with himself. He’s always been against anything he perceives as infringing on privacy and individual rights.

Several of the posters here, however, seem to be saying this: “Waaah! The CDC is political! They should stop their political agenda that is in line with the current administration and focus on MY political agenda!” (i.e., stop looking at gun control and start looking at “gay anal sex”).

The CDC, like it or not, doesn’t focus solely on disease and hasn’t for a very long time–not even under prior Republican administrations. What Barr is arguing for is a narrowing of the agency’s responsibilities. What’s happening now isn’t the change; what Barr suggests should be done would be a change.

As a side note, please observe here that I offer the Republicans the respect of getting their name correct; I don’t say “Rethuglican, although I could make a good case that the Patriot Act was nothing but legislated thuggery. I don’t call you fascist lunatics, although I think I could make that case, too. We on the other side like to be called “Democrats” because we are part of the “Democratic Party.” You immediately lose credibility when you twist the name into something unrecognizable or scream “socialist! communist! Marxist!” at every opportunity, even when it makes no sense.

I lived through the Bush years (although a lot of civilians in Iraq didn’t). You will live through the Obama years. Get some perspective. The sky is actually not falling, and the world continues to turn. Watch the latest SNL parody of Obama for some pointed if humorous critique–and the basic critique is that he hasn’t really done *anything* since taking office.

Government Option Done Deal

October 31st, 2009
2:52 pm

So Dr. Barr suggests the CDC went out and looked for H1N1? The only Katrina like aspect of the vaccine rollout comes from stupid conservative sites and stations who are urging not to get vaccinated.

If any Repubos who refused the vaccine and their children die this will be SUICIDE AND MURDER Republican style.

I see Cox has retained the services of the renowed infectious disease specialist Dr. Jim Wooten to dispense stupid advice.

If this strain mutates, you will see hospitals overwhelmed and respirator rationing like you’ve never seen in your life.

Government Option Done Deal

October 31st, 2009
2:55 pm

Fulton County, the largest county in Georgia, has dispensed 13.2% of their 5300 Medimmune Nasal Flu Mist doses. That calculates to 23 days/8 clinics/700 doses and 3.8 doses per day dispensed. That’s pathetic apathy and insociance on the part of a very ignorant public.

Not one political figure has stepped up to encourage vaccination. No editorial in the AJC has encouraged or even talked about vaccination.

There should be NFL and NBA and hip hop TV spots promoting vaccination.

This country and this state sure bring the stupid.

Shar

October 31st, 2009
3:31 pm

Ammunition should be by prescription only. Gun owners should have to pass tests and have licenses to store and operate their guns safely.

Fang1944

October 31st, 2009
3:37 pm

“@ Nan
Gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:

Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent

Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent

Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!

In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, thecriminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns.”

People keep posting this completely false story.

It is not the first-year results that are in. It was 13 years ago that Australia set up restrictions and a buyback program for certain kinds of guns; this was after a mass murder in Tasmania. You can still hunt and target-shoot; you just can’t have heavy iron.

Since then, the crime rate has fluctuated, but the murder rate, in particular the rate for gun murders, has dropped steadily. In 2007 Australia had a record low number of murders.

In the state of Victoria, during the first year of the new rules, the number of murders went from 7 to 19. Twelve is not 300% of seven. This was in a population of 4.5 million, so with numbers this small the percent of change is not significant. What matters is the actual, tiny number.

In 2004 Australia had 56 gun murders. We had over 11,000. The Aussies are doing just fine with their gun laws, thank you.

Fang1944

October 31st, 2009
3:40 pm

Oh, you can read about the Australia story and the state of Victoria story at Factcheck.org and Snopes.com, two impeccable, unbiased stories.

Fang1944

October 31st, 2009
3:58 pm

Watch the latest SNL parody of Obama for some pointed if humorous critique–and the basic critique is that he hasn’t really done *anything* since taking office.

Politifact.org keeps track of Obama’s promises kept/stalled/in the works/etc. So far, it looks like this:

Tracking Obama’s promises
49 Promise Kept
14 Compromise
7 Promise Broken
14 Stalled
128 In the Works
303 Not yet rated

So, as politicians go, he has been accomplishing a good bit.
PolitiFact will be tracking Barack Obama’s promis

jopar

November 1st, 2009
12:52 pm

Radly, I think this is exactly what they propose to do, investigate “the web of circumstances ” surrounding gun violence.I think it highly apropos that the CDC or any other entity in the world make an effort to curb the gun-fetish insanity in our country and reduce the death of so many young and old, innocent and guilty.

Bunck

November 1st, 2009
2:12 pm

Fang1944
Try getting your facts from the Australian Institute of Criminology you will find the fact that since 1969 homicide by the gun has been declining making the 1996 gun buy back irrelevent in effecting the decline in homicide. Although ” in 2007 had a record low of number of murders” in the late 40’s the same low murder rate also happend in Australia before the 1996 gun buyback. It is true assaults increased significantly after the 1996 gun buy back. After 1996 for several years armed robbery did go up over 44% according to AIC.

According to the AIC use of guns in a homicide since 1915 have been in the below 40% range. Australia does not have the gang demographics as in the US that account for 70% of homicides in the US. If the demographics in Australia were compared to the same in the US where there is liberal gun rights, looking into the FBI Uniform Crime Report, there is the same murder rates.

“You can still hunt and target-shoot; you just can’t have heavy iron.” if you mean ” heavy iron” includes 22’s coming out of Ruger 10/22’s then you are right when that is 47% of the guns on the buy back, 45% were shotguns and what I consider heavy metal accounted for only 8% of the guns on the buy back according to the state of Victoria were stats to what guns were confiscated were available. The criminals never turned in their guns according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to the FBI homicides overall have been declining even after the 1994 Clinton Assault Weapons Ban expired. Having more guns including so called assault weapons does not necessarily result in increase in homicides which gun control advocates predicted would happen. True let the US have its guns and let the Australians have their increase in assaults.

Bunck

November 1st, 2009
2:34 pm

Jopar
Why not have the CDC research why African Americans account for 50% of the murders ( FBI Uniform Crime Report) while only 12% of the population which can’t be just poverty since whites, asians and Native Americans who are in the same poverty level don’t have the same murder rates. I’m guessing there is no research on this matter that it might be cultural for fear of being labled racist even though research is available from the DOJ on other races that culture influences criminal behavior.

Fang1944

November 1st, 2009
11:12 pm

Bunck, you miss the point. Australia did NOT have any increase in crime and homicide when the gun restrictions were enacted.

Bunck

November 2nd, 2009
12:46 am

Fang1944
If assaults are not crimes I’m reading the wrong definition of crime. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology assaults rose after the 1996 gun restrictions. An assault can seriously injure someone enough to leave the victim paralyzed for the rest of their life. The years between 1993 and 2007 the highest rate of homicide was in 1999 right after the gun restriction and only dipped below the 1996 level after 2002. Although not significant, crime did go up after the 1996 gun restriction which contradicts gun control advocates reason to call for gun control that it would reduce homicides including by the gun.

Is armed robbery not also a crime to you? After the 1996 gun restriction armed robbery rose to almost double and returned only to 1996 levels after 2002 but did not go below in any significant level then 1996. In fact armed robberies before 1996 were much lower. I guest all those guns weren’t given up by the criminals which gun rights people always tell gun control advocates here in the US. Only law abiding citizens will give up their guns but not the criminals when gun confiscation law are inacted.

Chris Broe

November 2nd, 2009
1:05 pm

The polio vaccine once was delivered into a child’s skin with an air-gun. (true).

Today, Bob Barr introduces the world’s first drive-by flu vaccine…..

We must continue to combine our disease control with gun control. It’s the only way to stop all this head-turning and coughing during muggings, not to mention what they’re doing with plastic gloves during car-jackings.

People: do a self exam for weapons before you enter an airport. Start with underneath your arms, then the crotch, then the ankles. Dont forget to check the small of your back! Note any unusual bulges and iron barrels. Check it out.

Coming soon: Viagra for your snub-nose.

retiredds

November 2nd, 2009
3:11 pm

For the last 30 years the NRA has been telling Americans “the government is out to take your guns”. Helps gun sales and those that contribute $$$ to the NRA. That is their mantra, and many go out and buy more guns and gun dealers make more $$$. Follow the money Bob.

Bunck

November 2nd, 2009
6:28 pm

retiredds

I guest you never heard of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons ban singed by President Clinton. No, that’s all made up by the NRA. What about the statements by AG Eric Holder and Sec. of State H. Clinton early this year about reinstating the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban because of the drug cartels in Mexico. This stories are made up by the NRA that can is shown on Youtube showing both Holder and Clinton making such statements. What about the statement by Democratic author of the 1994 assault weapons ban, California Senator Dian Fienstein this year about reinstating the weapons ban, Minutes60, ” I’ll pick the time and place no question about that”. I’ts not the NRA telling us the government is taking our guns, it’s the liberals in the Democratic party that keeps reminding us that they want to take our guns away. Gun owners are not all brain dead people; they do read the press but not only what liberals want us to read.

Don’t try to control the internet to, liberals, with the Bill H.R 3458 written by democrates to give power over the internet to the federal government so they can dictate what’s acceptable. The same way the FCC controls broadcaste media H.R. 3458 will give the FCC control over the internet like China controls it’s internet.

retiredds

November 3rd, 2009
10:16 am

Bunck, oh the same old liberal vs conservative argument. So 19th century. Sorry pal, the conservatives and the right, in my book, have zero credibility. If you have read your history the liberal control of the media has been around for centuries. Try a new argument.

Bunck

November 3rd, 2009
3:44 pm

retiredds

I never said I was a conservative, you came to that conclusion by youself. Shows who you are with your biased conclusions about gun owners. In fact libertarians, independents and some social liberals I know own guns not just conservatives as you assume.

Conservatives have lost credibility to you, that’s your right to have the belief but if I remember right it was liberal democratic president Franklin D Roosevelt who interned a whole group of US citizens based on their race during a war. I don’t think republican president G. Bush has ever topped that level of human rights violation against US citizens. You go on believing the liberal democrates have no blood in their hands, that’s your right.

Bunck

November 3rd, 2009
4:27 pm

If the liberals had been in control of the media for centuries there would have been no 2nd Amendment because the liberal view that the 2nd Amendment is a collective right has only been after the liberal interpretation of the 1939 Miller vs US Scotus opinion. If liberals were always in control of the media there would be no Anti Federalist Papers or the Bill of Rights.

Can you show me a news paper article during the Founding Fathers that endorses gay marraige, abortion rights, and no death penalty for any crime. If you have then I’ll believe the liberals controlled the media all the time not just about 70 years ago. Too bad they are losing control now because of the internet.

Dennis

March 10th, 2010
9:14 pm

This is the main reason I read blogs.ajc.com. Killer posts.

Tamara

March 10th, 2010
9:35 pm

blogs.ajc.com, how do you do it?

seolace

May 6th, 2010
9:15 am

Nice post, thanks for writing!