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The House Held a Hearing on Gun Violence Research. That’s Big News.

For the first time in 22 years, the US House of Representatives held a hearing about funding federal gun violence research. Here’s why that matters.

In 1996 Congress stripped all dedicated federal funding for gun violence research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since then, federal investment in gun violence research has remained virtually absent at the nation’s primary health protection agency, despite gun deaths rising to a 40-year high.

“It is clear that this nation is facing a public health emergency—one that is breaking up families, eroding the safety of communities, threatening our shared future.” — Rep. Nita Lowey

To make our communities safer, we must understand the causes of gun violence so that we can better develop policies to reduce it. The only thing standing in the way of this critical research is a lack of federal funding.

In 2018 the Trump administration’s CDC director, Robert Redfield, stated that his team is “poised to do the research in this area if Congress chooses to appropriate the funding.” Now it’s up to Congress to do its job: fund federal gun violence research.

That’s why we’ve united with a coalition of medical and public health groups to demand that Congress fund federal research into gun violence. This coalition sent a letter to congressional leaders highlighting how federal gun violence research could help develop policies that save lives. And we’re not the only ones who think this—funding for federal gun violence research has widespread support.

It’s a big deal that the House held this hearing—the first in 22 years. It demonstrates the willingness of the new House majority to tackle this public health and safety crisis. Our coalition will not stop fighting for funding until Congress does its job to address this national emergency.