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
Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, Representative Nita Lowey, and Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Representative Rosa DeLauro Release Funding Bill
WASHINGTON – Everytown for Gun Safety and the American Medical Association released the following statement today applauding the House Appropriations Committee’s 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill, legislation that includes $50 million in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute of Health research on gun violence. This is a move Everytown and the American Medical Association have supported. A fact sheet on why funding gun violence research matters is available here.
“The first step to solving a problem is understanding it — and there is so much we don’t know about gun violence, which now kills more Americans than auto accidents,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We applaud Representatives Nita Lowey and Rosa DeLauro for leading the push to fund research into the causes and effects of gun violence, and we urge the House to pass this bill.”
“As with any urgent public health threat, gun violence cannot be solved without a deeper understanding of the underlying causes,” said Barbara L. McAneny, MD, president of American Medical Association. “The proposed funding for CDC research of gun violence would provide policy makers with an epidemiological analysis – a first step for a public health response to prevent injury and death from firearms.”
Since the start of the 116th Congress, the House has taken action significant on gun violence by passing 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.