There was an astonishing article in the New York Times on Wednesday about the ways in which the N.R.A. has systematically blocked research into gun violence--including such central and seemingly non-partisan questions as whether owning a gun makes people safer or less safe, or whether waiting periods or background checks have any effect.
The N.R.A.'s contention is that, basically, any research into gun violence is politically slanted. It has therefore worked to defund the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which used to perform the bulk of research into firearm injury and safety. Although Congress still funds the C.D.C. for research on traumatic brain injuries, there is a stipulation that "None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control. . . may be used to advocate or promote gun control."
Although funding is available through private foundations, those foundations tend to be "much more interested in work that leads to immediate results and less willing to finance basic epidemiological research"--or in other words, private foundations tend to be more partisan and less willing to let scientific research take its course.
It's been a long time since I felt this grateful to be doing work that nobody cares enough to restrict, and that doesn't require enough funding to defund.