My Letter to My Representative after Another Shooting.
My name is Dr. ___________, and I am a health care researcher with ____________. I write in the aftermath of another mass shooting, this time in a community college in Oregon. I am sure you share my grief for the victims and their families. I wish I knew how to help them. I wish I knew how to ensure that this didn’t happen again. How do we relieve the incalculable burden of gun crimes?
There is a reason I don’t know these answers, but it isn’t that they are mysterious or unknowable. The reason we don’t know is that lack of funding prevents the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and other federal agencies from supporting research into gun violence. Specified funding, supported by the president, has been thwarted in the House of Representatives repeatedly. I recognize that the issue of gun control is complex, and I am not writing to urge you to support any restriction on firearms. I write to implore you simply to let us study the problem.
There may be highly effective ways to curtail gun violence that do not infringe on anyone’s rights or their perceptions thereof. There may be ways to minimize the number of people who want to own guns. There may be ways to reduce the likelihood of an angry person from resorting to gun violence. We can’t know if we can’t study the problem.
We have a problem. Day after day after day Americans are murdered with guns. At a rate unmatched by any industrialized nation. I am not a constitutional scholar, and I don’t pretend know the implications of the various proposals for gun control you must surely be receiving now. But I am a health researcher. And if I were to have the opportunity, I could contribute to our understanding of gun violence. I have colleagues by the hundreds across this country who stand ready to research and understand this problem.
I am also not a policy maker. But I believe that to make good policy, the people entrusted with that charge – such as yourself – must be provided with the best possible information and research upon which to make that policy. Let us do our job, so that you can do yours. Support federal funding of gun violence research. End this de facto ban on the study of this crucial public health issue.