Sen. Markey & Rep. Maloney Introduce Legislation to Fund Gun Violence Research

Lawmakers originally wrote in February to President Obama, who included funds in his FY2015 budget

Washington (May 21, 2014) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) today introduced bicameral legislation to fund research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on gun violence prevention and firearms safety.  The legislation calls for $10 million each year for six years beginning in fiscal year 2015. President Obama included $10 million in his budget proposal released in March after lifting the 17-year ban on federal gun violence research in 2013. Since the mid-1990s, federal funding for gun violence research had almost halted entirely in response to pressure from the pro-gun lobby. As a result, policymakers, doctors, counselors, and others lack comprehensive, scientific information about the causes and characteristics of gun violence, or the best strategies to prevent future tragedies.

“It is time we study the issue of gun violence like the public health crisis it is,” said Senator Markey. “If we want to prevent injury and deaths from guns, we need to know what can be done to prevent it. No one should be afraid of more non-partisan, scientific research of this issue – not Democrats, not Republicans, and not the NRA. I thank Rep. Maloney for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues to fund this critical research priority and pass this legislation to help keep Massachusetts and all of our country safe from senseless gun violence.” 

“In America, gun violence kills twice as many children as cancer, and yet political grandstanding has halted funding for public health research to understand this crisis. We know from other examples that research can produce dramatic, life-saving results,” said Rep. Maloney. “In the past 20 years, even as our population has grown – car fatalities have decreased by 36 percent because our cars and highways are safer as a result of research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sen. Markey and I want to apply the same strategy to gun violence. Leading researchers have laid out an agenda for study, and now it’s up to Congress to put aside partisanship and fund this important initiative to make our communities safer.”

“There is no doubt that gun violence is a full-blown public health crisis, and that the only way to solve a problem is to understand it,” said Captain Mark Kelly, Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “That’s why it is essential that we begin to understand the full scope of the problem of gun violence in our country, from its causes to its costs. For too long, the misguided limitation of research into gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health has left us in the dark about its causes and full toll, and what can be done to prevent gun violence while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners.  Gabby and I applaud Senator Markey and Congresswoman Maloney for urging direct federal investment into research of the causes and costs of gun violence.”

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE

In January 2013, Maloney and then-Representative Markey authored and introduced H.R. 321, the Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act, which would allow the CDC and NIH to conduct scientific research into firearm safety.

In 2012, the CDC devoted just $100,000 to gun violence research, yet according to the Department of Justice, guns are involved in 70 percent of homicides, and kill or injure tens of thousands each year, including one child every 34 minutes. Last year, over 100 leading public health researchers sent a letter to Vice President Biden’s Commission on Gun Violence urging investment in scientific research to address the meager funding for basic research on gun violence.

The legislation is endorsed by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Brady Campaign, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Violence Policy Center, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR), National Physicians Alliance, American Medical Association (AMA), Safe States Alliance and the American Psychological Association.  

Endorsing Organizations: 

American Medical Association:

“Behind motor vehicle injuries, firearm injuries are the second leading cause of injury and mortality in the United States,” said Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, president of the American Medical Association. “That’s why the policy of the American Medical Association (AMA) is to support increased funding for research into the epidemiology of risks related to gun violence.  The AMA commends Representative Maloney and Senator Markey for introducing legislation to authorize funding for research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address this public health problem.”

American Psychological Association:

Research published by the American Psychological Association shows that people with serious mental illness commit only a small proportion of firearm-related homicides, and that the overwhelming majority of people with serious mental illness never engage in violence toward others.

 

“In order to address the complex public health concern of gun violence, research to identify factors related to prevention is critical and must inform all policy development,” said Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, ABPP, president of the American Psychological Association.  “The problem requires careful study and analysis of the psychological factors, behavioral pathways, social circumstances, and cultural factors that lead to gun violence. APA applauds Representative Maloney and Senator Markey for introducing a bill that will enable the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct vital gun violence prevention research.” 

Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR):

“The President has lifted the HHS moratorium on doing gun research to advance the health of the public.  We therefore support Rep Maloney and Senator Markey's efforts to authorize funding for the CDC to conduct gun safety research, as it has done in the past.  We need to conduct this essential rigorous research in order to inform future prevention strategies to reduce the number of deaths and injuries related to firearms,” said Deb Houry, MD, MPH, President, SAVIR. 

National Physicians Alliance:

“Physicians across medical specialties wholeheartedly support funding CDC research on gun safety and gun violence prevention,” says Jim Scott, MD, president of the National Physicians Alliance.  “Investment in public health research has offered our country phenomenal payoffs in other areas involving consumer products, automotive safety being a prime example.   Evidence shows us these investments save lives.  Kudos to Representative Maloney and Senator Markey for introducing this important legislation.”

Violence Policy Center:

“More people died from gun violence than died from motor-vehicle crashes in 12 states in 2010, despite the fact that 90 percent of Americans own a car and only 34 percent of households have a gun.  Public health interventions built on a solid foundation of research and data have resulted in huge declines in motor vehicle deaths over the last few decades.  We can make the same progress with firearm-related death if we act now to do the research and collect comprehensive data to identify effective violence reduction strategies,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center. “The bill introduced today by Senator Markey and Representative Maloney is a critical component of an effective strategy to prevent firearm-related death and injury.”

American Academy of Pediatrics:

“Gun violence is a public health issue that profoundly affects children, killing twice as many children as cancer, five times as many as heart disease, and 15 times as many as infections,” said James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Research at the federal level is key to understanding the causes of gun violence and the most effective public health interventions that will save lives and keep our children, families and communities safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics commends Representative Maloney and Senator Markey for introducing a bill that would expand these critical efforts by authorizing funding for gun violence prevention research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Brady Campaign:

“Every day 90 Americans die from bullets.  It is one of the most significant public health issues we face in our nation.  Research is essential to better understanding the problem and what we can do to prevent it.  Yet the corporate gun lobby and the politicians who do their bidding have blocked every attempt to do more research.  We applaud Senator Markey and Rep. Maloney for their leadership, putting the interests of the American people first and recognizing that CDC funding is essential to solving the public health crisis of gun violence,” said Dan Gross, President, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

In a letter of support, Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chairs Michael Bloomberg and Tom Menino said “This legislation will provide critical funding to study and combat the gun violence epidemic that claims 86 lives every day in this country.”

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:

“Quality research is the basis for effective policy making.  For too long the Centers for Disease Control have not had the resources necessary to undertake critical scientific inquiry about causes and cures for our nation's unacceptable high level of gun violence. It is high time that we take the blinders off our scientists and let them examine one of the most critical issues facing this nation. We are in total support of Representative Maloney and Senator Markey's efforts to bring more money to CDC for gun violence prevention research and thank him for his leadership.”

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