Legislation would increase federal funding for gun violence prevention research
Washington (April 5, 2017) – As community advocates, doctors, elected officials, and public health professionals gather for national public health week, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation today to address the issue of gun violence across the United States. The bill would set aside $10 million in funding each year for FY2018-2023 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct or support research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention. Last year, more than 100 medical and public health groups sent a letter to then-President Obama and House and Senate leadership in support of federal gun violence prevention research.
“Gun violence is ending lives and shattering families in Massachusetts and across our country,” said Senator Markey. “Now more than ever we must study the causes of gun violence and what can be done to prevent it. No one should be afraid of more non-partisan, scientific research into this vital issue – not Republicans, not the NRA and not President Trump. I thank Rep. Maloney for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues to fund this critical research priority.”
“Gun violence is a public health crisis,” said Rep. Maloney. “Yet, for too long the gun lobby and its allies in Congress have prohibited our nation’s leading federal public health researchers from studying gun violence to learn more about what drives it and how it can be prevented. With 89 people dying each and every day from gun violence, our country cannot afford Members of Congress playing political games with riders or restrictions on life-saving public health research and data collection. We must finally lift this senseless gag order.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
A 1996 Republican appropriations rider prohibits federal funds from being used to advocate or promote gun control, which some have misconstrued as a ban on funding scientific research into the causes of gun violence. The author of the original rider, former Representative Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) now supports funding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gun violence research and has stated that the rider should not stand in the way of researching the epidemic of gun violence.
Senators co-sponsoring the legislation are: Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn,), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth(D-Ill.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden(D-Ore.), Chris Murphy(D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin(D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Groups and individuals endorsing the legislation include: Newtown Action Alliance, Stop Handgun Violence, Doctors for America, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence united with Million Mom March, Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Center for American Progress, Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Public Health, Protect Minnesota, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, American Academy of Pediatrics, Maria Cuomo Cole, Rabbis Against Gun Violence, Women Against Gun Violence, Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, American Public Health Association.
A list of quotes from supporting organizations can be found HERE.
Po Murray, Chairman, Newtown Action Alliance
“We applaud Senator Markey and Representative Maloney for re-introducing the bills to fund gun violence research. Over 400,000 Americans have been killed or injured by guns since the Sandy Hook shooting when a severely mentally ill gunman senselessly murdered 20 innocent children and six educators with weapons of war in our neighborhood elementary school on December 14, 2012. Motor vehicle fatalities in our nation have been declining precipitously due to evidence-based research and common sense policies. In 2014, gun deaths outpaced motor vehicle deaths in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Too many American families from cities and towns across the nation are senselessly and tragically impacted by gun violence and it is time for Congress to take meaningful action to end gun violence by adequately funding research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.”
American Medical Association
“Gun violence in the United States is a public health crisis requiring a comprehensive public health response and solution. An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement, and society at large may be able to prevent injury and death resulting from firearms.”
Dean Sandro Galea, Boston University School of Public Health
“The paucity of research in the area of gun violence has substantially hampered our understanding of this issue, deepening a public health epidemic. Any restoration of research in the area will move us forward, providing data about how we can best promote gun safety, with the potential to save tens of thousands of lives annually. This bill would represent a timely investment in an area we have substantially under-invested over the past decades.”