With government funding deal fully approved, $25 million will be allocated to research gun violence—the first time in more than two decades
Washington, D.C. — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of the gun violence prevention organization Giffords, released the following statement on the signing of the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill which includes $25 million to invest into gun violence research.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
“Years of standing up, protesting, and speaking out have led to this moment. Americans demanding action can breathe a little easier with this momentous step toward a gun safe America. We still have a long road ahead keeping American communities safe, but investing in gun violence prevention research at CDC and NIH is a step in the right direction. I am forever grateful to the work of Speaker Pelosi, Chairwoman Lowey, Chairwoman DeLauro, Leader Schumer, and each of my colleagues in Congress who championed this funding to the finish line.”
This historic investment in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) comes more than two decades after the last such allocation in the Fiscal Year 1997 funding bill, when legislative language known as the Dickey Amendment was added stating the CDC may not “advocate or promote gun control.”
Prior to the start of the 116th Congress, Giffords launched a partnership with leading medical and public health groups to advocate for research funding at the CDC and the NIH to study gun violence, gun deaths, and gun injury in order to better improve public health and safety. In 2019, the coalition sent multiple letters to Congressional leadership calling for this investment, noting that over the past several decades scientific and medical research has led to policies that have saved countless lives related to automobiles, public sanitation, and cancer. The groups also joined with local partners and elected officials to host rallies for research funding in Denver, Orlando, and New Orleans, which reinforced that across the country communities supported the ability for top federal researchers to study this crisis.
Before the successful push this year to secure funding, Giffords had brought together national leaders to draw attention to the urgent need for lawmakers to act. In 2016, Giffords organized the last four Surgeons General to call on Congress to properly fund this public health research.
About Gun Violence Research:
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.
In the 116th Congress, 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.” In June 2019, the House of Representatives did just that, approving $50 million in dedicated funding to research America’s gun violence crisis.
Fact Sheet: Funding Federal Gun Violence Research