Gun violence has become all too prevalent across the country, and many believe that it is time for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to speak up on the issue. Georges Benjamin, Director of the American Public Health Association, explains that gun violence has become the “second-biggest killer of young people in the United State.” He also points out that it has disproportionately affected African-American men. Activist groups believe that to effectively reduce gun violence, the issue needs to be framed as a public health concern. Yet, throughout the six years that Dr. Thomas Friedan has been the Director of CDC, he has failed to address it. Some believe that Dr. Friedan is worried about losing funding for other important health issues if he takes a stance on the politically driven gun control movement. Dr. Friedan’s silence is even being compared to Ronald Reagan’s silence on the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.
“CDC is a trusted organization, and the white coat is a powerful tool,” stresses Benjamin. Because of its large budget, CDC could be much more influential than other government organizations that have already showed support for gun control. Benjamin believes that CDC’s support could pave the way for state and federal legislation to effectively reduce gun violence nationwide.