WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) says he won’t support the American Medical Association’s (AMA) effort requesting funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to research gun violence as a public health problem.
Last week the AMA said it would lobby congress to remove the 20-year ban on funding, saying that thousands of Americans are injured or die each year as a result of gun violence and its time to study the issue as a public health problem. The group said that given more than 30,000 people die each year due to gun violence, the country is looking to its physicians for their voice on what it calls a public health crisis and for their leadership in addressing it. The group called for the funding last Tuesday, just two days following the Orlando mass shooting.
“With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. in a release sent out on June 14. “Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries. An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement, and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death and other harms to society resulting from firearms.”
On Monday during his weekly conference call with media, WRFA asked Congressman Reed his thoughts on the AMA’s call for funding a gun violence study by the CDC. He said it’s not something he’d support because he sees it as an effort to undermine Second Amendment rights.
“I can’t speak to the American Medical Association, other than to say obviously, there’s always a concern that our Second Amendment rights are being attacked from many fronts, and I’m going to stand firm because I believe in that right. It’s part of our freedom, it’s who we are as a people, and I will tell you that continuation of the attack [against the Second Amendment] is something we’re going to continue to be against.”
“As we deal with the issue of gun violence in America I think there is some common ground that we can come to,” Reed said. “Go after the drug dealers and the felons. If you look at the bulk of the gun violence, it’s happening in our inner cities. It’s gang related and it’s drug related. Let’s get to the drug dealers and really hold them accountable… those types of polices are of interest to me. As we look at mental health in America we have a strong record standing with making mental health treatment in America a top priority.”
Reed also pointed specifically to the Project Impact program in Rochester, which was created to fight violence in that city and benefited from federal funding.
The AMA points out that although President Barack Obama lifted the research ban through executive order nearly three years ago, Congress has blocked funding for these studies.
Founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, the AMA is the largest association of physicians—both MDs and DOs—and medical students in the United States.