WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — The American Medical Association says gun violence in America is a public health crisis, but unlike other threats, guns haven’t been researched by the federal government for more than 20 years.
That’s because of legislation called the “Dickey Amendment,” which passed in 1996, and banned the use of federal dollars to advocate for gun control.
As a result, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stopped researching gun violence out of fear their findings could be considered a violation of the ban.
Jonathan Lowy with the Brady Campaign blames the gun lobby’s grip on Congress.
“We know how to address and solve public health crisis in America, we’ve done it with automobile deaths, and obesity and smoking,” Lowy said. “The CDC has been constrained by Congress.”
Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro wants to change that and hopes to see $50 million set aside for the CDC and National Institutes of Health to study the issue.
In a statement, she said, “Their research can help inform further proposals to help us save lives.”
Despite this, some argue there’s plenty of research being done already without the federal government.
“It’s simply not the case that if the CDC isn’t doing it, no one else is doing it,” Amy Swearer of The Heritage Foundation said. “We’ve seen explosions of other organizations, whether private or government-affiliated organizations that are studying this I use this research all of the time it’s readily available.”
DeLauro’s funding passed the House, but is expected to face major opposition in the Senate.