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As a budget-busting boondoggle of a shutdown-averting spending bill works its way through Congress, there are any number of provisions that ought to give conservatives tremendous pause. For instance, the bill raises the national age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 — a seemingly important public policy issue that conscientious citizens might expect their federal legislators to actually debate just a little bit.
But for Second Amendment supporters, there is one particularly troubling item that the D.C. swamp monsters and Congress critters have snuck into this pork-laden 2,000-page legislative monstrosity. If the bill is ultimately enacted into law, then, for the first time in decades, that Congress will have provided federal funding for gun violence research.
“The $25 million for federal research into gun violence that’s included in the massive spending bill agreed to on Capitol Hill represents the first time in over two decades that Congress has allocated funding for the issue,” CNN reported earlier today. “The provision maintains the long-standing prohibition on any funds being used to advocate or promote gun control,” the outlet continued.
No small deal, right?
Progressives have cheered the allocation of $25 million in taxpayer dollars being to gun violence research (but assuredly not the promotion of gun-grabbing policies, we are oh-so-reliably informed). For example, the leftists at New York Magazine gloated in remarkably tendentious terms about the policy victory:
Though Republican lawmakers have been able to stymie serious gun-reform legislation following tragic and preventable mass shootings for over two decades, a step toward future progress took place on Monday when House Democratic aides said Congress would allocate $25 million to federal agencies to study gun violence as a fraction of the year-end spending bill. …
Gun violence is the least studied of 30 causes of death in America; in 2017, it led to almost 40,000 deaths, the highest toll since 1968. As The Washington Post notes, “As many people die because of gun violence, for example, as of sepsis infection, yet funding for gun research is less than 1 percent of that for sepsis.”
Conservatives, by contrast, have naturally been less than enthused.
Nate Madden of Blaze Media quoted Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), chair of the House’s Second Amendment Caucus: “The inherent bias at NIH and CDC in deciding how this money will be spent will compel left wing researchers to compete with each other to cook up the most anti-gun results possible. As with the climate change research industry and the privately funded gun-violence research industry, this newly christened government-funded gun-violence research industry will work mainly to justify its own existence, and unbiased voices won’t be funded or even tolerated.”
Similarly, Blaze Media’s Daniel Horowitz excoriated the budget bill earlier today for its various profligacies and capitulations of conservative principle, and urged President Trump to veto it: “There is no reason why Trump can’t demand a clean continuing resolution for six weeks while the nation debates and even discovers the provisions of these bills. At the same time, he needs to use the bully pulpit and the threat of the veto pen to build the case for better immigration enforcement, punishing rebellious sanctuary states, and actually fulfilling a fraction of his promises on spending levels.”