Every year, more than 32,000 people in the United States die from gun violence
Current policy prohibits CDC from researching ways to combat gun violence epidemic
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has joined a growing call to fund gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Senator Baldwin has cosponsored legislation led by Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) that would set aside $10 million in funding each year for FY2016-2021 at the CDC to conduct or support research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention. Earlier this month, Senators Baldwin and 17 senators called on the Senate Appropriations Committee leadership to hold a hearing on funding for gun violence research at the CDC.
Currently, a Republican appropriations rider from 1996 prohibits funding for such critical research at the CDC, even though the original rider’s author, former Republican Jay Dickey, has since announced his opposition to it noting that the rider’s intention was to prevent the CDC from lobbying for gun control, not from conducting gun-violence research.
“Too many communities across the country face the heartbreaking loss of gun violence every day and I believe we must take sensible steps to confront these horrible tragedies,” said Senator Baldwin. “Every year, more than 32,000 people in the United States die from gun violence. Many more people suffer from gun injuries and are the victims of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun. Law enforcement officers have been shot to death protecting their communities and too many children are killed or injured by firearms every year, often by accident. It is time to lift the prohibition against research into the causes and prevention of gun violence in America.”
"Gun violence is a significant burden to our communities across the United States. Like other public health issues, it can be effectively addressed and reduced with quality research. We need adequate research funding to address this vexing and challenging public health burden," said Dr. Stephen Hargarten, Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and Associate Dean for the Global Health Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Dr. Hargarten also serves as the Director of the Injury Research Center (IRC), which Senator Baldwin visited in February 2013 to learn more about their work on injuries stemming from gun violence. The IRC at the Medical College of Wisconsin was established as a comprehensive, federally funded injury control research center to address the burden of injury in the Great Lakes Region of the Midwest (WI, MN, IL, IN, MI and OH). The IRC brings together researchers, practitioners, advocates, organizations, and agencies to prevent, treat, and care for injuries. Together these professionals research, implement, and evaluate effective injury prevention and control strategies to realize the vision of injury prevention as one of the premier public health achievements of the 21st century.