In President Obama's list of executive actions that he announced as gun control measures, #14 was this:
"Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence."
Gun rights advocates have complained that past research was heavily biased, but regardless, the proper place for research on gun violence is the Office of the Surgeon General and not the CDC. I suppose it's kind of silly of me, but I would expect the Centers for Disease Control to work on...um, let me think here...diseases. Then maybe we wouldn't read stuff like this:
That said, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not know exactly how many people die from seasonal flu each year. States do not have to report flu deaths among adults, and the cause of death for people with complications or secondary infections from the flu is not always clear. We will not know the estimated number of flu deaths this year for some time.
I remember the days when the CDC was viewed as this underfunded small group of doctors and nurses investigating and working to suppress outbreaks of infectious disease. Now its mission has expanded to workplace injury, obesity, and yes, gun violence(among other things). It has an annual budget of over $9 billion and 15,000 employees including contractors.
Health issues such as obesity and injuries need to be addressed, but I wonder if we might get a better handle on problems like influenza, MRSA, and drug resistant tuberculosis/STDs if the CDC were to return to a focus on communicable diseases. It seems to me that when I read about that stuff these days there's a sort of "What are you going to do?" tone of resignation in the stories that troubles me.
Perhaps the problem is one of perception on my part, but I feel like the CDC already has too broad of a mission. There are other parts of the federal government perfectly capable of taking on the problem of gun violence, starting with the FBI, which already has extensive statistics on the problem. Let them work with the Surgeon General and leave the CDC out of it. Just my two cents.