Dems push for hearing on funding gun violence research

Dems push for hearing on funding gun violence research
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Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are calling for a hearing on federal funds for gun violence research.

In a letter sent Friday to committee Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenThis week: House GOP caught in immigration limbo Congress tackles mounting opioid epidemic Facebook faces new data firestorm MORE (R-Ore.) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessTrump signs 'right to try' drug bill House approves 'right to try,' sends bill to Trump's desk Overnight Health Care: New allegations against VA nominee | Dems worry House moving too fast on opioid bills | HHS chief back in DC | FDA reexamines safety of controversial Parkinson's drug MORE (R-Texas), the Democrats demanded a hearing “on the need for increased funding for gun violence prevention research in order to protect the American public, including our school children, from the tragic consequences that result from gun violence.”

The letter comes two days after a 19-year-old man allegedly opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 students and faculty and injuring many others.

“Gun violence must be addressed and handled for what it is: a public health crisis. However, the harmful ‘Dickey Amendment’ and its chilling effect on federally-supported gun violence prevention research has stymied our ability to address gun violence,” the Democrats wrote.

The measure, which has been renewed yearly since 1996, limits the ability of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence.

"None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control,” the amendment says.

Although the so-called Dickey amendment, named for former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.), does not technically outlaw federally funded gun research, it has had a chilling effect.

“The ban on using Department of Health and Human Services funding ‘to advocate or promote gun control’ and Congress’ failure to appropriate adequate funding has resulted in a dearth of gun violence research findings that could help protect millions of Americans, and keep our families, communities, and children safe,” the Democrats wrote.

There may be some momentum towards revisiting the ban.

On Thursday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said he would allow his department to conduct research into the causes of gun violence.

Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTrump, GOP launch full-court press on compromise immigration measure Meadows gets heated with Ryan on House floor The Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by Delta Air Lines - Trump says he will sign 'something' to end family separations MORE (R-Va.), the retiring chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also on Thursday said Congress should reexamine the ban on studying gun violence as a public health issue.