Representatives Price, Kelly, Quigley, Murphy, DeLauro and Lowey Lead Letter Urging House Leadership Not to Restrict Gun Violence Research in Appropriations Package
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 13, 2017) – On Wednesday, December 13, Representatives David Price (D-NC), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Nita Lowey (D-NY) sent a letter to House leadership urging them to oppose language in the final FY18 appropriations package that would restrict the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies from conducting research about gun violence.
“Although Members of Congress may disagree about how best to respond to the high incidence of gun violence, we should all be able to agree that our response should be informed by sound scientific evidence,” the 121 signatories wrote. “Instead of continuing with the status quo, let’s allow the research community to investigate evidence-based solutions that could help prevent gun violence while still protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
In addition to protecting public health and safety through prevention of disease, the CDC has also historically conducted other non-disease related research to prevent injury or illness such as drowning prevention, intimate partner violence, and motor vehicle injuries. Since 1996 however, riders such as the “Dickey Amendment” have been attached to annual appropriations bills that prevent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other agencies from conducting high-quality, peer-reviewed research about gun violence.
“Despite the frequency of gun violence in the U.S., we know that the violent tragedies so many families and communities across the nation are experiencing are not inevitable,” said Congressman Price, Vice Chair of the House Democrats Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “Allowing the CDC to conduct research into gun violence, just as it does with other preventable causes of injury and death, will give citizens and lawmakers the tools they need to understand and confront the horrible epidemic of gun violence that is devastating our country.”
“For decades, the Dickey Amendment has silenced lifesaving research and suppressed the policy dialogue around common sense laws that can save American lives,” said Congresswoman Kelly, Vice Chair of the House Democrats Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “It’s time to let the science and research speak for itself so policymakers can enact the best policies to protect American families.”
“There is absolutely no reason to restrict the CDC from studying the rampant gun violence epidemic that devastates communities across the country, including in my hometown of Chicago,” said Congressman Quigley, member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “Conducting research about this issue is an easy—and obvious—first step to equip us with a deeper understanding of the actions we can take and policies we can enact to save lives. I’m proud to join my colleagues in urging Republican leadership to break with the status quo, encourage scientific research, and elevate the debate on gun violence prevention.”
“Gun-related incidents claim the lives of too many people and tear apart too many families. In deciding how best to confront this challenge, we should encourage evidence-based research into the causes of gun incidents and find commonsense, bipartisan ways to reduce gun deaths and injuries,” said Congresswoman Murphy. “Keeping our families safe from senseless gun violence while upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans should not be mutually exclusive goals. It is past time that Congress have an honest, fact-based discussion about commonsense gun reform.”
“In the five years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, there have been 500,000 victims and survivors of gun violence in the United States, “ said Congresswoman DeLauro. “We must honor their lives with action and prevent further gun violence. The CDC should be able to study this issue just as they would any other public health crisis—it is logical and morally responsible.”
“This is a matter of life and death,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY-17), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee. “Tens of thousands of Americans lose their lives to gun violence every year, yet for decades annual appropriations bills have weakened our ability to figure out how we can prevent these tragedies. Restricting research because of concerns about the outcome is cowardly and wrong. It’s time we thaw the freeze on gun violence research and equip policymakers with the information to confront this public health crisis.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.