America continues witnessing an epidemic of gun violence that concerns all of us.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources, on average each year there are 36,000 killed in our country. And some 100,000 more are injured by guns. A grim total of some 136,000 lives torn apart each year by a seemingly unstoppable epidemic.
There are studies that demonstrate that during a 12-year period, between 2001 and 2013, more Americans were killed by guns than the number of Americans killed by war, AIDS, illegal drug overdoses and terrorism combined during the same time period. (Sources: IIHS, icasualties, DCD/WISQAARS, Micah Zenko, published in Vox)
This epidemic concerns the victims and their families, gun owners, firearms manufacturers, health and safety providers, law enforcement, faith leaders, the thoughts and prayers community, political advocates of all stripes, and governing officials.
In other words, no one seems to be unconcerned.
And yet this universally acknowledged threat to our nation’s public health has not produced an effective way to prevent further death and violence.
Public policy makers seem paralyzed into inaction by the shock, the enormity and the immediacy of the epidemic. To those who responsibly study this epidemic, the core of this paralysis is the absence of large-scale and irrefutable research that would suggest preventive measures to bring on-going gun violence under control.
Large-scale data research is what has led to reduction of deaths related to automobile crashes, tobacco use, HIV infection and other threats to human life.
To fill this informational research need, on June 19, the House of Representatives approved H.R.2740 that contains a $50 million appropriation directing large-scale research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the National Institutes of Health.
The appropriation to fund this critical gun-related deaths research is slowly working its way through the legislative process.
The Senate has not yet taken action on the appropriations measure containing these funds.
I know Pinal County’s Board of Supervisors shares everyone’s hope that our universal concern can translate into action. For that reason I ask that the Board direct staff to draft a resolution supporting approval of these research funds and submit the resolution to Arizona’s congressional delegation.
To avoid doing so is to turn a blind eye to the ongoing massacre of fellow Americans while going through the numbing routine of once again lowering the flag to half-staff and expressing well-meaning thoughts and prayers.