Fully Fund Gun Violence Research at the CDC
Gun violence in America is a public health epidemic. Despite rapid advances in medical technology and a heightened awareness of the gun violence crisis in impacted communities across the country, gun injuries and deaths continue to rise in both rural and urban areas.
It’s long past time for Congress to fully fund research into the issue by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Yet due to the gun lobby’s efforts, the CDC has gone more than 20 years without undertaking any significant research into the effects of gun violence. In order to fully understand the scope of the problem and to identify the best policy solutions to prevent these deaths, Congress must provide funding to the CDC to conduct thorough, evidence-based research on this issue. This research is urgently needed to improve our understanding of gun incidents, identify the sources of firearms, and evaluate gun storage methods.
About the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act of 2021
In February 2021, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) introduced H.R. 825 and Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced S.281, known as the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act of 2019. The legislation directs Congress to appropriate committed funding for the CDC to study the gun violence epidemic for the next five fiscal years. Last year, doctors and public health officials from across the country — alongside the communities that are directly impacted by this violence every day — came out in support of this research and affirmed the need to address gun violence as the health crisis that it is.
- The CDC is our nation’s top agency to research public health issues, but it was blocked from researching the issue for years. The CDC distributes over $11 billion in research funding annually and is uniquely positioned to help stem the epidemic of gun-related deaths and injuries. But the harmful Dickey Amendment, pushed by the corporate gun lobby, was interpreted to prevent research into, and funding for, gun violence at the CDC for years. While the Dickey Amendment is no longer in effect, a lack of funding continues to stall this critical research.
- As it stands, the medical profession doesn’t have the information it needs to effectively treat patients. In the absence of comprehensive medical research, gun violence survivors are forced to soldier on, doing their best to cope with the trauma while their doctors struggle to help them.
- Every day, 96 people are shot and killed in the United States. Eight children and teens are shot every day in cases of family fire. Americans kill each other with guns at 25 times the rate of other high-income countries. And gun violence costs the American economy $229 billion every year.
- A recent study found that research into gun violence garners substantially less funding from the federal government than research for other major causes of death — 1.6 percent of the funds the researchers would have predicted based on spending on comparable health issues.
- In January, as the 116th Congress was sworn in, Brady released a comprehensive approach to gun violence prevention, including $50 million in committed funding for research into gun violence over the next five years.