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 Introduced Funding Bill
WASHINGTON – Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown 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. A fact sheet on why funding gun violence research matters is available here.
“Gun violence now kills more Americans than auto accidents — but the federal government still invests next to nothing on research into this public health crisis,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We applaud Representatives Nita Lowey and Rosa DeLauro for leading the charge to learn more about the causes and effects of gun violence, and we urge the Senate to pass this bill.”
“We applaud the House for passing this package of bills that includes $50 million in funding for research into gun violence,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “This funding will give leaders the data that is needed to make policies that will help people lead healthier and safer lives.” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Now that the House has moved on this significant legislation, it’s time for the Senate to do the same.”
“The House has taken a vital step toward building a scientific understanding of gun violence and an evidence base for gun safety. The proposed federal funding will allow researchers to determine the root causes, just as federal funding has been used to help fight other health care epidemics,” said American Medical Association President Patrice A. Harris, M.D. “The Senate needs to take the next step and also approve funding for research. Our communities are counting on congressional leadership to help end the scourge of gun violence.”
Since the start of the 116th Congress, the House has taken significant action on gun violence by passing H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would require background checks on all gun sales, H.R. 1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, which contains life-saving provisions to disarm domestic abusers and provide law enforcement important tools to intervene when domestic abusers are trying to illegally obtain guns, 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.