Speaker of the House John Boehner and his colleagues not only shut down an offer from the Centers of Disease Control to conduct gun violence research, they also defended the constitutionality of Americans owning guns.
“Listen, the CDC is there to look at diseases that need to be dealt with to protect the public health,” said Boehner. “I’m sorry, but a gun is not a disease. And guns don’t kill people; people do. And when people use weapons in a horrible way, we should condemn the actions of the individual, not blame the action on some weapon. Listen, there are hundreds of millions of weapons in America. They’re there. And they’re going to be there. They’re protected under the Second Amendment.”
Boehner’s statements, and especially his reference to what is generally known as one of the NRA’s primary slogans, has brought the Speaker of the House some serious flak.
Some have criticized his claim that firearms are protected under the Second Amendment, reasoning that as Boehner isn’t an expert on Constitutional law, he’s simply not qualified to make that sort of assertion. Of course, anyone with basic reading skills can comprehend the meaning of the Second Amendment, so I think it’s safe to say Boehner has a pretty good handle on it as well.
Boehner didn’t come right out and say it, but there were likely other reasons for voting against CDC-funded gun violence research. Aside from the fact that the CDC aren’t firearms “experts,” there could be potential conflicts of interest in having them pour money into this type of research.
Either way, most of this discussion is likely moot. Since 1998, the CDC has tried 38 times to fund gun violence research, and 38 times the Speaker of the House and his colleagues have declined.
Think they’ll try for a 39th?
(The following was a submission by freelance writer Brent Rogers)