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June 8, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – This week, a bipartisan group of 146 Members of Congress, led by Congressman David E. Price (NC-04), called on Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to lift the de-facto ban on federal gun violence research. Appropriations amendments first adopted in the 1990s currently prevent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from conducting research into the public health impact of gun violence, which kills approximately 32,000 Americans each year. The letterurged Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi to direct Appropriators not to include these provisions in this fiscal year’s funding legislation.

“These deeply misguided appropriations provisions and their chilling effect on research means that we do not have adequate data to assess the causes and impact of gun violence,” said Congressman David E. Price (NC-04), who led the effort. “This is a critical public health priority, and we are preventing the research community from providing lawmakers the support we need to implement effective policies to address it. Surely we can all agree that there is no harm in learning more about how to stop gun violence.”

“It is unconscionable to continue to tie the hands of researchers who could help find solutions to end the 32,000 gun deaths every year,” said Ranking Member Nita Lowey (NY-17) of the House Appropriations Committee. “As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will fight to remove the senseless restriction on research so we can save lives and end this public health emergency.”

“Knowledge is power. And when we’re dealing with a gun violence problem of epidemic proportions, we need every tool at our disposal,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02). “The only way we can craft meaningful legislation to combat gun violence is to have a full and accurate assessment of the impact of gun violence on our communities, our public health and on our economic future. Lifting the ban on federal gun violence research is a crucial step in stemming senseless gun violence and making our country safer.”

“Every year, gun violence kills more than 32,000 people in the United States, tearing apart families and communities. We must end the federal ban on gun violence research that is stopping us from studying how we can help stop gun violence and save lives,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03). “Even Jay Dickey – the former Republican Congressman who led efforts to ban federal research – agrees, ‘Doing nothing is no longer an acceptable solution.’ Now is the time for Congress to act.”

“Our nation is facing an epidemic of gun violence, where nearly 90 people die every day from guns. These repeated tragedies beg many questions. But because the federal government has prohibited funding for research aimed at reducing gun violence for two decades, the answers do not exist. By limiting our knowledge, we prevent ourselves from protecting our citizens,” said Congressman Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “If my colleagues are serious about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, they must allow the CDC to research the problem. It’s time to stop listening to the gun lobby and start listening to the American people.”

The Fiscal Year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill, which includes the gun violence research ban, has yet to be considered by the House Appropriations Committee. The full text of the letter is available here.