Every time an unfortunate shooting occurs in the United States, far too many politician’s knee-jerk reaction is to regulate gun sales or ban certain types of guns altogether. It is almost unheard of to find policymakers on the left call for a deeper dive into the reasons as to why these tragic events occur in the first place.
Finding the root cause as to why gun violence takes place should be top of mind among politicians in Washington, and many Republican leaders, such as Senator Josh Hawley and others, have championed the importance of tackling gun violence in America.
However, in spite of the great efforts by some lawmakers in Washington on this issue, sadly, the necessary data and research that is required to understand why gun violence is occurring in our society remains underfunded.
Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States are from suicides. And when it comes to our veterans, the statistics are even more jaw-dropping, with about 20 veterans a day committing suicide with the use of a gun.
Mental health complications and the increase in suicide rates are, rightfully so, becoming a more common topic of discussion among members of the veteran community. However, given that we lack enough in-depth information as to how we should properly confront this growing epidemic, it makes it difficult to know if current gun laws are the problem, or if we just need more effective mental health treatment plans and facilities. What we do know is that we need answers and solutions based on evidence.
Instead of calling for all-out bans on guns, policymakers should focus on providing the necessary funding for scientific research and data collection regarding gun violence, particularly as it relates to the correlation between veteran suicide rates and guns. By engaging with the scientific community and investing in sensible, high-quality research that answers critical questions on this matter, our nation can solve gun violence in America.
These solutions won’t happen overnight, however, and in order to effectively tackle this problem, lawmakers in Washington must implement long-term, data-driven approaches over a series of years to produce a factual basis for truly understanding why gun violence is taking place in the first place. And if the federal government can throw $1.2 million in taxpayer dollars a year researching the social behavior of monkeys,we can certainly allocate the necessary funds each year for this important issue.
I am confident that key conservative champions on Capitol Hill who fight for our veteran’s day in and day out, like Senators Joni Ernst, David Perdue, and other lawmakers who have a powerful microphone on this issue and have served as important champions for our veterans in Washington will push to provide the necessary funding that is required to develop factual based, high-quality research that will help lead to the right solutions for combating gun violence.
This is not only an important matter for our nation as a whole but something politicians on Capitol Hill not only can but should accomplish for those who have served our nation in uniform.
Zach Almond is the former Chairman of the North Carolina Federation of College Republicans.