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Kelly asks for funding for gun violence research

Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., joined with other members of the House of Representatives on Feb. 22 in calling on Speaker Paul Ryan to allow debate and a vote on legislation to repeal the Dickey Amendment and provide adequate funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention to conduct research about gun violence.
 
In 1996 at the urging of the National Rifle Association, then Rep. Jay Dickey, R-Arkansas, moved that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the CDC may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” The change cut an estimated $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget that year, the exact amount that had been allocated to the agency for firearms research the previous year.

Dickey has since said he regrets the passage of the budget amendment.
 

In their letter to Ryan, Kelly and the members state, in part:

“The Dickey Amendment has had a chilling effect on the CDC and other federal agencies who are responsible for conducting life-saving research. The rider serves as an unnecessary barrier to finding meaningful and workable solutions to our nation’s gun violence epidemic. 
 

Federal research is essential to provide us the facts and data we deserve to protect every American and prevent more senseless tragedies.
 
Most recently, in the wake of the tragic Parkland, Florida school killings, there appears to be an opening to finally rescind this unwarranted an detrimental impediment on federally funded research and once again conduct research that could save lives. 
 
Last week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that, ‘Our ability to do research on the causes of violence and the causes behind tragedies…is a priority for us.’ You yourself are quoted as saying we need more ‘facts and data.’ 
 
We agree. Research on gun violence is one important way to help reduce the incidence of gun violence and unnecessary deaths of school children and all Americans.
 
Research on the root causes of this important public health concern will better inform policymakers and the American people on how best to address this epidemic.
 
This is a common-sense step that warrants immediate consideration in the House of Representatives.  
 
Gun-related deaths now nearly equal deaths from traffic accidents, but for too long, policymakers have lacked the comprehensive tools to craft an effective response to the public health crisis of gun violence.”

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