April 05, 2017

Van Hollen, Markey Introduce Legislation During National Public Health Week to Reduce Gun Violence

As community advocates, doctors, elected officials, and public health professionals gather for National Public Health Week, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation today to address the issue of gun violence across the United States. The bill would set aside $10 million in funding each year for FY2018-2023 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct or support research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention. Last year, more than 100 medical and public health groups sent a letter to then-President Obama and House and Senate leadership in support of federal gun violence prevention research.

"The scourge of gun violence has impacted communities in Maryland and across the country. We need to take comprehensive action based on non-partisan, independent scientific research. Step one in moving forward to save lives is to end this senseless prohibition and allow talented researchers to examine the evidence and pursue the truth," said Senator Van Hollen.

A 1996 Republican appropriations rider prohibits federal funds from being used to advocate or promote gun control, which some have misconstrued as a ban on funding scientific research into the causes of gun violence. The author of the original rider, former Representative Jay Dickey (R-Ark.), now supports funding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gun violence research and has stated that the rider should not stand in the way of researching the epidemic of gun violence.

Senators co-sponsoring the legislation are: Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn,), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Groups and individuals endorsing the legislation include: Newtown Action Alliance, Stop Handgun Violence, Doctors for America, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence united with Million Mom March, Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Center for American Progress, Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Public Health, Protect Minnesota, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, American Academy of Pediatrics, Maria Cuomo Cole, Rabbis Against Gun Violence, Women Against Gun Violence, Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.