Senator Markey: Fund CDC Gun Violence Research in Omnibus Budget Deal

Markey legislation would provide $60 million in funding for CDC to conduct or support research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention


Washington (March 1, 2018) – As Congress nears the March 23 deadline to pass the omnibus budget bill, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today called for immediate funding to support research on gun violence prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 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. At a recent House of Representatives Energy and Commerce hearing, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar voiced his support for commencing gun violence prevention research at the agency. And several Republican Congressmen, including House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), and Rep. Mark Walker, (R-N.C.) have joined in the growing chorus of lawmakers supporting federal gun violence prevention research in the days following the Parkland, Florida mass shooting. A 1996 Republican appropriations rider authored by then-Congressman Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) prohibits federal funds from being used to advocate or promote gun control, which some have misconstrued as a ban on funding federal scientific research into the causes of gun violence.


“We seem to have found the political will on research into gun violence prevention, so the only thing stopping it is funding,” said Senator Markey. “For too long, our researchers, scientists, and policymakers have suffered from the lack of information about what is causing gun violence and what can be done to prevent it. No one should be afraid of science. No one should fear non-partisan, scientific research. Not Democrats, not Republicans, and not the NRA.


“The gun lobby will insist that simply removing the Dickey rider language is adequate, but that is a red herring. Removing the appropriations rider without fully funding research is conscience-clearing lip service when our scientists need resources. The omnibus budget bill provides the ideal opportunity to put our money where our mouth is and finally fund the research that could provide solutions to the public health crisis of gun violence.”


A copy of Senator Markey’s letter to Senate appropriators, sent in 2017, calling for CDC funding can be found HERE.


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.”