WirePOLITICS: Naughton calls for end of restrictions on gun violence research

Tom Waring, the Wire

Shaughnessy Naughton, a Democratic candidate in the 8th Congressional District, is calling on Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick to move to end longstanding congressional restrictions on research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to gun violence.

Naughton is addressing the issue because of countless acts of gun violence, but especially in the wake of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 people were killed.

The CDC studies several forms of violent activities, including child abuse, youth violence, suicides and sexual assaults, but the organization does not collect data on gun violence due to legislation dating to 1996 that prohibits research funds from being used “to advocate or promote gun control.”

The authorization has prevented any publicly funded research into gun violence at the CDC, and Naughton believes such research could help reduce the number of gun-related deaths in the U.S.

Naughton released the following statement:

“Today marks the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Earlier this month, 14 people were senselessly killed in the San Bernardino shooting. Since 2004, there have been more than 300,000 lives lost to gun violence. There is no one solution to end all gun violence in America, but we must take immediate action to prevent future incidents. This is a public health crisis.

“I fully support universal background checks and an assault weapons ban. As a scientist, we are taught that when you don’t know enough about a problem you research it. We should be able to address gun violence the way we would any other public health emergencies. Nearly 20 years ago, the NRA led an effort to stop the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting any research on gun violence. In the midst of this public health crisis, the CDC is still blocked from conducting research on ways to prevent gun violence to this day. It just isn’t right. The CDC’s research on traffic safety has helped save hundreds of thousands of lives, so why can’t we do the same to prevent gun violence?

“It’s time for Congressman Fitzpatrick, the NRA and Republican leadership to allow CDC to do its job to get to the root of the gun violence problem in America and start to find ways to fix it.”

Naughton, who faces state Rep. Steve Santarsiero in the primary, is a Point Pleasant native. She earned a degree in chemistry from Bryn Mawr College, and works as a small publishing company owner.

Fitzpatrick is not seeking another term. Republican candidates are former Bucks County Commissioner Andy Warren, attorney Dean Malik and state Rep. Scott Petri.