GOP keeps in place funding ban on gun violence research

GOP keeps in place funding ban on gun violence research
© Getty Images

A GOP-led panel blocked a proposal Wednesday that would have reversed a nearly 20-year-old ban on funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research on gun violence.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 32-19 against ranking member Rep. Nita Lowey's (D-N.Y.) amendment to a bill that would fund health, education and labor programs in the next fiscal year.

“When it comes to gun violence, my friends, this committee won’t give one dime for the CDC to conduct research on something that is killing Americans by the thousands,” Lowey said.

Lowey attempted to undo the 1996 congressional ban that was first proposed by then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.). She noted that Dickey later supported lifting the prohibition on the CDC.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I rise to oppose the amendment,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said of Lowey’s proposal. “We don’t think this place is the appropriate place for a debate over the Second Amendment.”

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) said Congress owes victims of gun violence action, citing the mass shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina and violent crime in Chicago.

“Last week’s tragedy at the church in Charleston is a terrifying reminder for all Americans of this growing problem,” he said. “But for people who live in the city of Chicago, it’s not a headline, it’s an everyday occurrence.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) said she’s “aghast” that some of her congressional colleagues won't address problems with gun violence in the United States.

“In the wake of Charleston, we must admit to our nation’s gun problem and begin doing something--anything--about it,” she said.

In the GOP panel’s report on the funding bill, Republicans wrote that the ban is to protect the rights granted by the Second Amendment.

“The restriction is to prevent activity that would undertake activities (to include data collection) for current or future research, including under the title 'gun violence prevention,' that could be used in any manner to result in a future policy, guidelines, or recommendations to limit access to guns, ammunition, or to create a list of gun owners,” the report says.

“That convoluted argument is an insult to this committee,” Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) said. “It borders on the paranoid.”