CREDO Action

Tell the Senate: Fund gun violence research

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The petition to the Senate reads:

"Ensure the budget includes at least $50 million for the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence."

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    Tell the Senate: Fund gun violence research

    One of the most devious ways that the NRA blocks gun laws is by preventing us from even studying the gun violence epidemic. And without studies on gun violence, it is virtually impossible to pass laws to fight it.

    The NRA has blocked federal gun violence research for decades, but this year, the House of Representatives finally allocated $50 million in the budget to study gun violence.1

    To ensure that these funds make it to the final budget, we must demand that the Senate joins the House of Representatives and acts.

    Tell the Senate: Stand up to the NRA and fund gun violence research.

    Gun violence is a public health epidemic, one that is killing a horrific and increasing number of people every year. Rather than tolerate shooting after shooting, we have to understand the root causes and research ways to prevent the next tragedy before it happens.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did research gun violence in the 1980s and 1990s, but the NRA bullied Congress into prohibiting any activities that “may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”2 Research agencies interpreted this as a ban on research, which ended federally funded gun violence research for years.

    This ban has stopped researchers from answering basic questions that could keep people safe. Questions like: Are communities where more people carry guns safer or less safe? Does the availability of high-capacity magazines increase deaths? Do more rigorous background checks make a difference?3 Being able to answer these questions could hold the key to crafting policies that could prevent thousands of deaths every year.

    The consequences of our inaction are staggering. Nearly 40,000 Americans died from gun violence in 2018.4 The United States experiences mass shootings at the rate of roughly one per day.5

    Last year, Congress finally clarified that the CDC and NIH are allowed to conduct gun violence research, but without funding, this change will do little. The House budget would fund research on gun safety, firearm injury and mortality prevention – research that can help us understand and begin to fight the public health crisis of gun violence.

    Now the Senate must do its part and stand up to the NRA.

    Tell the Senate: Stand up to the NRA and fund gun violence research.

    References:

    1. Jessie Hellmann, "House Dems propose $50 million to study gun violence prevention," The Hill, April 29, 2019.
    2. Michael Luo, "N.R.A. Stymies Firearms Research, Scientists Say," The New York Times, Jan. 26, 2011.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Sarah Mervosh, "Nearly 40,000 People Died From Guns in U.S. Last Year, Highest in 50 Years," The New York Times, Dec. 18, 2018.
    5. German Lopez, "20 years after Columbine, America sees roughly one mass shooting a day," Vox, April 19, 2019.