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03.22.2018 / Press Release

We Are Fed Up with Gun Violence

Over 170 National and State Organizations Demand Action from Congress on Gun Violence Research

Washington, D.C.—Today, congressional leadership received a letter spearheaded by Families USA, with over 170 national and state partner organizations, urging the House and Senate to repeal the federal prohibition on gun violence research, otherwise known as the “Dickey Amendment” and generously fund the CDC to research the effects, solutions, and prevention of gun violence in our nation. Related language is currently moving through Congress in the omnibus spending bill.

Following is the statement of Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA:

“Thousands of students and supporters are inspired to make their voices heard on Saturday during the March for Our Lives. Families USA, joined by over 170 national and state partner organizations, are proud to support them and other victims of gun violence and their families.

Gun violence has a particularly horrific impact on our nation’s children. It’s startling, but since 1999, 150,000 students across the nation have attended primary or secondary schools with incidents of gun violence and, among high income nations, 91 percent of children younger than 15 years old who were killed by bullets live in the United States.

As an organization focused on health and health care, Families USA is leading an effort to repeal the amendment that effectively prohibits federal funding for research into the devastating public health impact of gun violence on our nation. The sign-on letter we delivered to leaders of Congress today asks for repeal of the Dickey Amendment and for Congress to appropriate comprehensive levels of funding for research into the cause, effects, and evidence-based prevention of this public health epidemic.

While the numbers of people hurt by gun violence are staggering, we know too little about the causes and impact of gun violence in our country. We need research to understand gun violence and evidence-based solutions to put a stop to this epidemic, which is especially harmful to communities of color and other disadvantaged communities.

It is appalling that a ban on federal funding and research into gun violence ever existed and it’s past time for the ban to end. According to aJAMA study, the CDC currently receives less than 2 percent of the funding it should to understand the impact of gun violence on our society.

Families USA applauds the leadership of Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and more than 170 bipartisan cosponsors on legislation that would fully repeal the Dickey Amendment. The committee report accompanying omnibus legislation working its way through Congress takes an important step in reiterating HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s assertion that the Dickey Amendment is not intended to ban gun violence research. This step draws attention to the detrimental effect of the Dickey Amendment and the need to allow CDC funding on the causes of gun violence research. But it does not go far enough.

Families USA calls on Congress to fully repeal the Dickey Amendment and fund gun violence research at a level that is approximate to research funding levels for other leading causes of death, at least $100 million annually.”