WASHINGTON, March 23  – Senator Edward J. Markey and 16 other Senators urged Senate appropriators in a letter this week to dedicate funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence in the United States.

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. Earlier this year, Senate Democrats called on appropriators to hold a hearing on funding gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We must take this important step because only the United States government is in a position to establish an integrated public-health research agenda to understand the causes of gun violence and identify the most effective strategies for prevention,” wrote the senators.

The letter was also signed by Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal(D-Conn.), Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

A copy of the letter can be found by clicking here