Candace Owens Says CDC 'Needs to Be Shut Down'

Conservative commentator Candace Owens has said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be shut down because the agency is studying gun violence for the first time in more than two decades.

Owens took to Twitter on Wednesday to share a post highlighting an NPR report about the CDC's plans.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called gun violence a "serious public health threat" in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, saying it was "pedal to the metal time" on the issue.

Owens tweeted: "The CDC needs to be shut down. There is no other way to say it."

The agency has been unable to conduct research into gun violence for years in large part because the gun lobby convinced members of Congress to cut funding for it in 1997.

In 2018, former President Donald Trump signed a spending bill that would allow the CDC to resume research into gun violence. Congress allocated $25 million for that purpose in 2020 and 2021, split between the CDC and the National Institutes of Health.

The CDC and NIH are now funding research that aims to reduce gun-related injuries as well as deaths, suicides and crime.

The CDC's website lists 18 gun-related studies that have received funding totaling about $8 million. The agency is also providing 10 state health departments with up to $225,000 each to "provide surveillance data in near-real time on emergency visits for nonfatal firearm injuries."

The website adds: "Timely state- and local-level data on emergency department visits for nonfatal firearm injuries are currently limited. The collection of near-real-time data on emergency department visits for nonfatal firearm injuries overall and by intent (intentional self-directed, unintentional, and assault-related) can support state and local jurisdictions in identifying and responding to emerging public health problems."

Walensky told CNN on Wednesday that "something has to be done" about gun violence. "Now is the time—it's pedal to the metal time.

"The scope of the problem is just bigger than we're even hearing about, and when your heart wrenches every day you turn on the news, you're only hearing the tip of the iceberg," she said.

The CDC needs to be shut down. There is no other way to say it.

— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) September 29, 2021

"We haven't spent the time, energy and frankly the resources to understand this problem because it's been so divided," she added.

President Joe Biden said the U.S. was facing "a gun violence public health epidemic" in April and the CDC's research may be the first indication of how the administration intends to tackle the problem.

Walenksy told CNN: "I swore to the president and to this country that I would protect your health. This is clearly one of those moments, one of those issues that is harming America's health."

"We don't even know who enters the emergency department, in most places, as a result of firearm injury—we don't even know it," she said.

Walensky said she wanted to find common ground with gun owners and did not want anyone thinking she was interested in taking guns away. She added: "I'm not here about gun control. I'm here about preventing gun violence and gun death."

Candace Owens Appears on Her Show
Candace Owens is seen on the set of her Daily Wire show "Candace" on September 20 in Nashville, Tennessee. She has criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for funding research on gun violence. Jason Davis/Getty Images