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Key GOP lawmaker: 'Unlikely' Congress lifts CDC gun research limits

Key GOP lawmaker: 'Unlikely' Congress lifts CDC gun research limits
© Greg Nash

A key GOP lawmaker says it’s “unlikely” that a provision restricting research on gun violence gets removed in next month’s spending bill.

“It's unlikely that we would remove it in this particular legislation simply because this is a $1.2 trillion bill,” Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeParade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings dies at 84 Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers MORE (R-Okla.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Health Subcommittee, told reporters on Tuesday. “It shouldn't be derailed for a single thing.”

Democrats have renewed their calls for repealing the restriction on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gun research, which is included each year in appropriations bills, after the school shooting in Florida earlier this month.

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The provision in question does not actually ban research at the CDC on gun violence, it only prevents advocacy by the CDC for gun control. But Democrats argue that the provision has had a chilling effect even on research.

Cole, though, emphasized that he thinks under current law, “You can certainly do research into gun violence; it does not prevent that from happening.”

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar likewise said this month that he supports the research and thinks it is allowed under current law.

Democrats, including Senate Health Committee ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayHouse passes bill to combat gender pay gap Schumer kicks into reelection mode Democrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act MORE (Wash.), are now pressing Azar for his plans to spur the research.

The recent requests for research were spurred by a shooting at a Florida high school earlier this month that left 17 dead and a number of others wounded.

A day after the shooting, Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteBottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself MORE (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he thought Congress should reexamine the policy that bars the CDC from studying gun violence as a public health issue.

“If it relates to mental health, that certainly should be done,” Goodlatte, a staunch Second Amendment advocate, said during an appearance on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers."