Jay Dickey on Obama's Order to Encourage Research on Gun Violence

Former U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey, R-Ark., responds to President Obama's order Wednesday to ease gun research restrictions pushed through Congress in the 1990s by the gun lobby. 

As the Associated Press recalls today in a piece about the prospects of more gun-violence research, Dickey led an effort to remove $2.6 million from the CDC's injury prevention center, which had led most of the research on guns.

According to Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who headed the CDC's injury center at the time, what the NRA did was "basically terrorize" the research community and the CDC, scaring them away from meaningful research into gun violence in America.

Dickey sees it differently. But he and Rosenberg are now on the same page about gun research:

Dickey, who is now retired, said Wednesday that his real concern was the researcher who led that gun ownership study, who Dickey described as being "in his own kingdom or fiefdom" and believing guns are bad.

He and Rosenberg said they have modified their views over time and now both agree that research is needed. They put out a joint statement Wednesday urging research that prevents firearm injuries while also protecting the rights "of legitimate gun owners."

"We ought to research the whole environment, both sides - what the benefits of having guns are and what are the benefits of not having guns," Dickey said. "We should study any part of this problem," including whether armed guards at schools would help, as the National Rifle Association has suggested.

So what's next? Does Obama's executive order give the CDC clearance to start analysizing data about guns? Some think the answer isn't clear. Dickey thinks it's up to Congress:

The Union of Concerned Scientists said the White House's view that the law does not ban gun research is helpful, but not enough to clarify the situation for scientists, and that congressional action is needed.

Dickey, the former congressman, agreed.

"Congress is supposed to do that. He's not supposed to do that," Dickey said of Obama's order. "The restrictions were placed there by Congress.

"What I was hoping for ... is 'let's do this together,'" Dickey said.

You can read the full AP report here.

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