John Arnold—who made a fortune at Enron—and his wife Laura have added their names to the list of billionaires attempting to use their largesse to subvert the Constitution.
During the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy in late May, the two announced plans to put $20 million toward “gun violence research” over the next five years, with another $30 million coming from their family foundation. “Ninety-six people are killed by guns in the U.S. every day,” Laura Arnold said, lamenting a lack of action by the government on gun control. According to Arnold, this inaction has resulted from the 1996 Dickey Amendment, which she suggests suppressed supporting evidence by banning all government research on gun violence. (This is a favorite gun control lie: In reality, the amendment simply prohibits the cdc from using tax dollars for anti-gun advocacy.) “It’s a critical time for philanthropy to step in and catalyze the government to act—to cut through the politics with data,” she announced.
Specifically, the Arnolds plan to research how guns are purchased, how guns change hands, and the risks and benefits associated with having a firearm in the home. While we would hope that an unbiased, scientific look at the data leads the Arnolds to conclude that guns have a positive—not to mention necessary—place in society, their assertion that the results “are certainly meant to guide policy” suggests that they’ll only find what they set out looking for—regardless of what they have to do to get there.