The Gun Violence Brief: Free the CDC to Research Guns

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Last month, Ad Age introduced "The Brief," a call to creatives in the industry to apply their ingenuity to tackling the continuing gun violence problem in the United States. Since then, yet another mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Parkland, Florida.

Alongside the growing swell of young voices roused by the latest tragedy, there's been increasing clamor around the Dickey Amendment, a law passed in 1996 that prevents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using federal funds to "advocate or promote gun control," effectively putting the kibosh on much meaningful research into gun violence in the U.S.

Out latest proposal aims at getting the law repealed. It comes from Austin-based creatives Daniel Crumrine, associate creative director and writer at Archer Malmo, and Sean Leonard, a senior art director at T3. "There are so many ways to confront an issue this monumental," they say. "Our idea focuses on one piece of legislation that could potentially unlock a variety of scientifically-backed ideas."

"Don't Be A Dickey"

Crumrine and Leonard say: One of the reasons there is so little common ground in the gun debate is that there is so little research on it. Since 1996, the CDC has been prevented from researching the public health crisis of gun violence based on a small piece of legislation known as the Dickey Amendment. But we believe that if you could study gun violence, then you could work towards preventing it.

Our strategy is to create a campaign that pushes for the repeal of the Dickey Amendment by identifying members of Congress who support it, urging citizens to pressure their congressperson to repeal it, and challenging common talking points that are often (wrongly) stated as fact. This is a little-known, but important piece of the issue, so we'll distill it and present it in the most striking way possible. The result, we hope, will help repeal the Dickey Amendment and allow the CDC to once again research gun violence free of restraint.

The Dickey Amendment is such an obscure piece of the puzzle, but it could have a huge impact if repealed (look at the success CDC research had in helping reduce auto fatalities). We wanted to make people aware of that in a striking way that was easy to understand.

Next up for "The Brief": We are partnering with the Gun Safety Alliance toward achieving a specific goal: Help the students behind March for Our Lives. The effort, for which we've also enlisted the help of Edel Rodriguez, the artist behind powerful magazine covers for Time, Der Spiegel and more, asks you to create art with impact to amplify the students' message and get more brands and companies to support their cause. See full details here.

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