I live in Australia. One of the country's most revered radio stations hosts one of the country's most revered scientists in a fun QnA session known as the 'Science Hour'. Listeners phone in with their weird and interesting questions and Dr. Karl answers them live.

Now, on the most recent episode - 2017-11-02 (33:00) - Dr. Karl is asked by Stephanie from Newcastle:

What is it about the human brain and the attraction to firearms?

To which he replies:

...because of lobbying for the last two decades in America, by the National Rifle Association, the CDC - Centre for Disease Control - ... have been specifically forbidden, by Congress, to carry out the various sorts of studies to let us know what is so attractive about guns.
[snipped for brevity]

As an Australian, I don't really understand the Congress system of the US or anything along these lines, but this has struck me as odd and pertinent, given the situation.

I'd like to understand and verify is it true that the US Congress has specifically blocked the CDC from studying the brain's attraction to firearms?

Given the political nature of this topic, please limit all answers or discussions to the question at hand

  • The premise of the question is wrong. the brain isn't attracted more to firearms then to other things. As a german, the US attraction to guns was always very strage to me. But what guns are for americans seeems o be the unlimited speed on the autobahn for germans. its just as non-sensical, and defended which just as much passion.
    – Polygnome
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 17:16
  • Except you can research the attraction to the Autobahn and understand it, whereas understanding firearms in the US is pure conjecture.
    – Möoz
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 22:05
  • I have yet to find any explanation for the fascination of my fellow countryman with having an unlimited speed that is any more sensible then the american gun attraction. But even if you can find an explanation for the autobahn, there is no such attraction for guns here, meaning I fail to see why it should be an universal "brain attraction" that all humans share. maybe the question shouldn't be "Why is the human brain attracted to guns?" but rather "Is the human brain attracted to guns, or are there other, cultural causes?". I feel like you leaped to the second step too fast ;)
    – Polygnome
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 22:41
  • 2
    Has Congress specifically blocked the CDC from studying the brain's attraction to firearms? No, the ban is far broader than that -- so broad that even counting the number of firearms-related deaths is probably a violation.
    – Mark
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 23:22
  • @Mark That's so interesting.
    – Möoz
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 3:11


Browse other questions tagged .