The House of Representatives is looking to fund new gun violence research, with some claiming that it is a public health issue. In fact, Democrats in the House want the Centers for Disease Control to study the issue of guns with $50 million in federal funds.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the nation’s foremost public health agency. And yet, it has been absent from this research agenda for more than 20 years,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, according to The Hill.
Certain members have been pushing this research for years, but a 1996 law prevents federal funding being used to advocate gun control. Republican members believe that research should not be about an agenda.
“The money we spend needs to make a difference as opposed to making a political point,” said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma.
Law Doesn’t Ban Gun Violence Research
Proponents of the $50 million in funding like to claim that the Dickey Amendment prevents research on guns and gun violence. However, that is not the case. It prevents advocating gun control in response to high-level CDC officials pushing an agenda during the 1990s. The difference is important. Some people were claiming guns were a health issue and that the CDC needed to study the issue. However, others were concerned that the research would be biased and push an anti-gun agenda.
Some groups have claimed the Dickey Amendment has reduced research on firearm violence. However, John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center claims the opposite in a Fox News column. In fact, he says the federal government spent $43 million on firearms research between 2015 and 2018. Additionally, numerous private groups fund research into guns and gun violence.
Lott also says that one problem is setting a dollar amount by comparing violence research with research on diseases, such as cancer or diabetes. This is especially fruitless when the information coming out of these studies is misleading, and often biased.
The proposal currently sits in the House Appropriations Committee’s health subcommittee, which is chaired by Rep. DeLauro.