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 WaldenHouse GOP blocks Trump-supported drug pricing provision from spending bill GOP turns its fire on Google Hillicon Valley: Twitter chief faces GOP anger over bias | DOJ convenes meeting on bias claims | Rubio clashes with Alex Jones | DHS chief urges lawmakers to pass cyber bill | Sanders bill takes aim at Amazon MORE (R-Ore.) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessTwitter’s Dorsey apologizes to McCain family for ‘unacceptable’ tweet Overnight Health Care: Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare plans | GOP fails to block DC individual mandate | Ebola returns to Congo Republican chairman wants FTC to review mergers of drug price negotiators 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.

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“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 GoodlatteVirginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers Republicans ready to grill Bruce Ohr as Trump-DOJ feud escalates 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.