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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 Cole (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.


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 Murray (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 Goodlatte (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.”

Tags Bob Goodlatte CDC Florida shooting gun violence Patty Murray Tom Cole

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