MiIlions for gun safety research approved by Congress for first time in decades

Shaney Guadalupe

Students and family members hold hands around a makeshift memorial in front of Majority Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in February 2018. Lawmakers struck a bipartisan spending deal on Monday that for the first time in over 20 years would include funding for research on gun violence. The bill, which the House is expected to vote on as soon as Tuesday, includes $25 million for research on gun safety. The money would split between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and the National Institute of Health, said one of the measures advocates, Rep.Nita Lowey,  D.N.Y., chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. If approved by the House and the Senate and signed by the President, it would allow federal research  on gun safety to go forward for the first time since 1996. Thats when Congress passed- at the urging of the National Rifle Association- what became known as the Dickey Amendment. The Amendment barred the CDC from using federal money to “advocate or promote gun control” while eliminating money that had been allotted to conduct gun studies.”With this investment, the best public health researchers i . the country will be put to work to identify ways to reduce injury and death due to firearms,” Lowey said. Democrats , who have railed against the prohibition for years, made some headway in last year’s spending bill by adding language that said,”While appropriations language prohibitions 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.” Gun safety advocates were unimpressed, noting the the bill included no money to actually conduct the research- something the new agreement would do. The announcement “is huge victory in our nations commitment to addressing and solving the gun violence. While the National Rifle Association pushed for the Dickey Amendment, it maintains that it does not oppose gun research. Instead, the group says, it opposes research that is biased, flimsy or aimed at advocacy.