Last Year, Congress Passed a Spending Bill with Report Language Clarifying Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Authority to Conduct Research on Causes of Gun Violence; But 115th Congress Did Not Appropriate Funding for Gun Violence Research
WASHINGTON – Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on “Addressing the Public Health Emergency of Gun Violence.” The hearing is expected to discuss funding for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research on gun violence. Ahead of the hearing, Everytown for Gun Safety and the American Medical Association are calling on Congress to appropriate $50 million annually in federal funding for research into the causes and effects of gun violence.
“Under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, the House is standing with voters and taking meaningful action to keep Americans safe from gun violence,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Now we urge them to recognize gun violence as an urgent public health crisis and put real federal money behind research into its preventable causes and tragic effects.”
“Determining the root causes—through federally funded research—is critical to developing solutions to any public health crisis,” said American Medical Association President Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. “The AMA has seen that research on tobacco use, alcohol and substance use disorders, vaccinations and other public health issues has been the crucial first step toward crafting a thoughtful response. The epidemic of gun violence should be no different.”
The hearing comes just one week after the House passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would require background checks on all gun sales, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, which would address the “Charleston loophole,” which allows gun sales to proceed after three business days even if a background check has not been completed.
Every year, more than 36,000 people are killed with guns in the United States and approximately 100,000 more are shot and injured. America’s gun death rate is 11 times higher than that of other high-income countries. In a recent national poll, 58 percent of American adults reported that they or someone they care for have experienced gun violence in their lifetime. Despite this uniquely American epidemic, Congress has knowingly restricted gun violence research and, as a result, lives are put at risk every day.
When the CDC began studying gun violence in the early 1990s, the NRA fought aggressively to persuade Congress to block its funding. In 1996, the effort culminated in the so-called Dickey Amendment, which had a chilling effect on gun violence-related research conducted by the CDC. In the years since, CDC gun violence research shrank by over 90 percent. The 115th Congress passed legislation with report language to clarify that the CDC has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence, but did not appropriate funding to conduct the research. The 116th Congress will now have the opportunity to fund gun violence research for the first time in more than two decades.
In 2013, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, now part of Everytown, released a report on the NRA’s efforts to suppress public research into gun violence. Read the report.