STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Congress agrees to millions in gun violence research for the first time in decades

The $25 million for federal research into gun violence that's included in the...

Posted: Dec 17, 2019 10:33 AM
Updated: Dec 17, 2019 12:15 PM

The $25 million for federal research into gun violence that's included in the massive spending bill agreed to on Capitol Hill represents the first time in over two decades that Congress has allocated funding for the issue.

The House voted Tuesday to approve the nearly $1.4 trillion spending deal that includes $12.5 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $12.5 million for the National Institutes of Health. The funding comes as the nation continues to grapple with the effects of frequent mass shootings.

'With this investment, the best public health researchers in the country will be put to work to identify ways to reduce injury and death due to firearms,' Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee who secured the funding in the spending bill, said in a statement.

The provision maintains the long-standing prohibition on any funds being used to advocate or promote gun control.

Now that the spending deal has cleared the House, it will need to be approved by the Senate before it can go to President Donald Trump for his expected signature.

'We applaud Congress for finally providing the critical funding we have been requesting,' Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said in a statement Monday. 'This will support public health research that is essential to answering questions about the best ways to reduce the morbidity and mortality from firearms in the United States.'

Dr. Robert McLean, the president of the American College of Physicians, applauded the funding bill and said in a statement that 'the alarming rate of injuries and deaths related to firearms brings to light the glaring lack of research and data.'

'For over twenty years, we've desperately needed up-to-date research about firearm violence and intervention and prevention strategies to reduce physical as well as emotional injuries caused by firearms,' McLean said.

'While $25 million is a great start, it pales in comparison to the amount needed to address this public health problem,' said Dr. Joseph Sakran, the founder of This Is Our Lane, a movement started by physicians in response to the National Rifle Association.

For more than two decades, the CDC has avoided firearms research because of its interpretation of the so-called Dickey Amendment, named after the late Republican Rep. Jay Dickey of Arkansas.

In 1996, Congress passed the Dickey Amendment and removed $2.6 million — the amount the CDC spent on gun research the year prior — from the CDC's budget.

While the legislation doesn't explicitly ban federal research funds from being used for research related to gun violence, it states, 'none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.'

The amendment had a chilling effect on gun research at the CDC as the agency held back to avoid losing further funding.

But before he passed away in 2017, Dickey reversed his position and urged the government to carry out research on gun violence.

The National Rifle Association has argued that the amendment itself didn't prevent gun violence research — only advocacy — and therefore does not need any changes.

Last year, Congress passed a spending bill accompanied by language giving a green light to the CDC to research gun violence — although there was no money specifically budgeted for the research.

'While appropriations language prohibits the CDC and other agencies from using appropriated funding to advocate or promote gun control, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has stated the CDC has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence,' the accompanying instructions stated, referring to Secretary Alex Azar's 2018 comments to Congress.

The Democratic-controlled House in February passed a universal background checks bill, HR 8, which would require background checks on all firearm sales in the country. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring any gun bill to the Senate for a vote unless Trump says he would sign it into law.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 207558

Reported Deaths: 2760
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40446614
Washington26850249
Marion23497324
Clackamas18981235
Lane13944166
Jackson11581146
Deschutes1005582
Umatilla862787
Linn565381
Yamhill479479
Klamath478278
Polk402056
Douglas391683
Josephine363872
Malheur362063
Benton327522
Jefferson237839
Coos217737
Columbia193029
Union150224
Wasco145630
Lincoln144021
Crook129523
Hood River121933
Morrow115816
Clatsop10639
Baker103115
Curry73211
Tillamook6614
Grant5527
Lake4698
Harney4369
Wallowa1945
Gilliam811
Sherman701
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3812825

Reported Deaths: 63501
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124841524472
Riverside3017994627
San Bernardino2994254886
San Diego2820523778
Orange2731705116
Santa Clara1202332199
Kern1108471405
Sacramento1080131738
Fresno1030201724
Alameda898911286
Ventura817271032
San Joaquin748081440
Contra Costa70882813
Stanislaus635861071
Tulare49823850
Monterey43858456
San Mateo42756581
San Francisco37304559
Santa Barbara34631455
Solano33797267
Merced32325481
Sonoma31026317
Imperial28908741
Placer23656300
Kings23214247
San Luis Obispo21448261
Madera16660245
Santa Cruz16262209
Marin14212230
Yolo14161212
Butte12666198
Shasta12615235
El Dorado10423117
Napa1003280
Sutter9676113
Yuba652151
San Benito611163
Lassen580825
Tehama574263
Nevada493675
Humboldt452849
Mendocino435750
Tuolumne422271
Amador374347
Lake356653
Glenn243727
Siskiyou239938
Colusa228818
Calaveras221056
Del Norte14688
Inyo143438
Mono12984
Plumas7426
Modoc5645
Mariposa4667
Trinity4246
Sierra1180
Alpine890
Unassigned330
Medford
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Brookings
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 63°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 101° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 46°
Dangerously hot weekend ahead
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events