Since 2013, Senator Markey has introduced legislation to provide $10 million a year for six years to conduct or support research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention at the CDC


Boston (March 23, 2018) – After the Senate yesterday passed a budget for the remainder of 2018, increasing funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by $1.046 billion, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today queried the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about beginning research on gun violence prevention with the new resources. Report language in the budget legislation confirms that the Dickey amendment — the appropriations rider originally sponsored by the late Representative Jay Dickey (R-AR), which, since 1996, has provided that none of the funds made available to the CDC may be used “to advocate or promote gun control” — does not ban scientific research at the CDC into the causes and prevention of gun violence. As a result of the new language, Senator Markey calls on HHS to clarify whether the CDC can use these additional funds, or any existing baseline funding, for gun safety and gun violence prevention research, or whether Secretary Azar intends to request a supplemental appropriation for this fiscal year.


“In light of this legislative recognition of the limits of the Dickey amendment, and the increase in CDC funding for fiscal year 2018 by $1.046 billion over fiscal year 2017, it appears that the CDC is in an ideal position to begin research on this public health crisis,” writes Senator Markey in his letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.


A copy of Senator Markey’s letter can be found HERE.


At a recent House of Representatives Energy and Commerce hearing, HHS Secretary Alex Azar voiced his support for commencing gun violence prevention research at the agency. In 2015, a CDC official released a statement noting it had commissioned an agenda of possible research goals on gun violence but still lacked the dedicated funding to pursue it: “It is possible for us to conduct firearm-related research within the context of our efforts to address youth violence, domestic violence, sexual violence, and suicide,” CDC spokeswoman Courtney Lenard wrote, “but our resources are very limited.”