U.S. House of Representatives budget includes $50 million to research gun violence
Drawing from their experiences, Florida medical experts tell the US Senate that now is the time to act
June 29, 2019— Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, joined with Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), the American College of Physicians, Florida, This is Our Lane, Doctors for America, Equality Florida, League of Women Voters, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Inc., Florida Psychological Association, Florida Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Medical Student Association at a rally in Orlando, Florida, to demand that Congress move immediately to fund gun violence research for the first time in decades. Highlighting investments critical to addressing our gun violence crisis, local medical professionals and advocates are calling on the U.S. Senate to act.
“Medical professionals are first-hand witnesses of America’s epidemic of gun violence. They’ve seen the horrific wounds and imparted the worst of news. They’ve counseled safety in their practices and saved the lives of thousands in their operating rooms. For their work, they’ve won the appreciation of millions, but they do not have a partner in our politicians – and today they are choosing to come together to tell Congress that enough is enough,” said former Congresswoman Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “It’s been decades since the federal government funded gun violence research, but a newly empowered House of Representatives voted to change course. Now it’s up to the Senate to do its part and fund research into the epidemic that kills over 100 people each day. We need to get it done.”
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives approved $50 million in dedicated funding to research America’s gun violence crisis. The U.S. Senate has yet to announce if it plans to support the funding.
“For over 20 years, there was an effective ban on federally-sponsored research into ways to reduce gun violence,” said Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-07). “In the wake of the Parkland tragedy, I was proud to help lead the successful bipartisan effort to end this ban. Now we must take the next step and actually fund this life-saving research. We in the House have done our part. We are calling on the Senate to put people over politics and do the same.”
Rallying at the Orlando Museum of Art rotunda, health providers made the case that funding research into gun violence is critical to better improve the safety of Florida families and their communities.
“Our nation is facing a public health crisis that is impacting communities from all walks of life,” said Dr. Joseph Sakran, This Is Our Lane. “We have both the possibility and the responsibility to change the status quo. Like any complex problem, this will require a multi-faceted approach. Part of that approach begins with providing federal dollars for firearm injury prevention research. This will ensure that we are providing our policy makers with the data needed to pass sound policy.”
“As a pediatrician and adolescent medicine physician I am horrified by the numbers of children who die in the United States because of guns,” said Dr. D. Paul Robinson, Florida Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics. “In Florida a child is shot, on average, every 17 hours. Guns violence remains so poorly researched that public safety experts cannot take steps to help Americans decrease the rate of deaths. Senators Rubio and Scott please vote to allow Congress to reinstate funds for research into gun violence, funds that have not been given to the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health for more than 23 years.”
Following a 1993 CDC-funded study that found individuals with a gun in the home are 2.7 times more likely to become homicide victims, Congress moved to strip CDC’s firearms research budget. Since then, federal investment in gun violence research has remained virtually absent at the nation’s premier institution for public health, despite gun deaths rising for the past three years to nearly 40,000 people in 2017. Recently, CDC and Trump administration officials have expressed CDC’s willingness and ability to restart this research, with CDC director Robert Redfield stating that his team is “poised to do the research in this area if Congress chooses to appropriate the funding.”
Giffords launched a partnership with leading medical and public health groups to advocate for research funding at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health to study gun violence, gun deaths, and gun injury in order to better improve public health and safety. In a letter sent to Congressional leadership of the 116th Congress, the groups noted that over the past several decades, scientific and medical research has led to policies that have prevented deaths from automobile accidents, public sanitation, and cancer. The collective effort is calling on Congress to properly fund gun violence prevention research.