From Michael Luo’s 2011 series on guns and public safety, this gets at the heart of the political limitations on doing research into the health risks of guns in America.
C.D.C. financing for research on gun violence has not stopped completely, but it is now mostly limited to work in which firearms are only a component.
The centers also ask researchers it finances to give it a heads-up anytime they are publishing studies that have anything to do with firearms. The agency, in turn, relays this information to the N.R.A. as a courtesy, said Thomas Skinner, a spokesman for the centers.
Invariably, researchers said, whenever their work touches upon firearms, the C.D.C. becomes squeamish. In the end, they said, it is often simply easier to avoid the topic if they want to continue to be in the agency’s good graces.
Emphasis added. I’m curious if these circumstances have changed much in the past 4 years.
Also, here is Michael Luo’s Medium post about his role in provoking Oregon’s state legislature to restrict public access to gun license records.
I had planned to cross-match the data of license holders with other records on criminal convictions. But Oregon officials repeatedly delayed turning over the records, and I wound up focusing instead on the licensing process in North Carolina, where officials released the gun permit data to me right away. I discovered that about 10 percent of permit holders in North Carolina over a five-year period had gone on to commit felonies or misdemeanors. Perhaps more disturbingly, I found that the authorities had failed to revoke the permits of many of those who had been convicted of felonies.
Stone-walling journalists from uncovering these kinds of legislative oversights is dangerous—not just in the rhetorical sense—it is literally endangering citizens.