March 16, 2018

Reed, Whitehouse Join Markey, Colleagues in Calling for Gun Violence Research Funding at CDC

Senators underscore that gun violence is a public health crisis

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have joined Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and twenty-three other colleagues in calling on leaders of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to immediately act on legislation to fund gun violence prevention research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“In the wake of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it has become increasingly clear that gun violence in America is going to continue unabated until Congress takes meaningful action,” wrote the Senators.  “We have long passed the threshold of moral responsibility to do so.”

In the letter, the Senators point to the overwhelming support from the medical and public health communities for recognizing gun violence as a public health crisis.  Just yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar again stated that there is no impediment to his agency from conducting gun violence research.  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, but our resources are very limited.”

A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found here.

A Republican appropriations rider, first authorized by then-Congressman Jay Dickey (R-AR) in 1996, prohibits the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using federal funds to advocate or promote gun control.  Some have misconstrued this rider as a ban on CDC research into the causes of gun violence.


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