WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced that the spending bill that funds the federal government through September 2020 includes $25 million in federal funding – $12.5 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $12.5 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – to research firearm injury and mortality prevention. This is the first time in more than two decades that federal funding will be used to research what the American Medical Association has called a public health crisis.
“Gun violence is a public health emergency,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Since 1996, I have been fighting to give public health researchers the tools to study the causes of firearm injury in hopes that more Americans can be spared from violence, suicide, and firearm-related accidents. After years of obstruction from Republicans and the NRA, as the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, I am proud to secure a historic $25 million investment for gun violence prevention research.”
The fiscal year 1997 spending bill eliminated funding into gun violence prevention research and included the Dickey Amendment, which has had a chilling effect on CDC’s research on firearm injury prevention, effectively ending federal investments in this critical area. Under Congresswoman Lowey’s leadership, the House voted Tuesday to reinvest in this public health research.
“This is a landmark victory for the gun safety movement––for the first time in more than 20 years, Congress will be appropriating funding specifically for research on gun violence,”said Barry Graubart, NYS Deputy Chapter Lead, Advocacy, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “None of this would have been possible without Rep. Nita Lowey’s tireless work to overcome the gun lobby and push this historic bill over the finish line.”
“I am pleased to see that $25 million has been included in the fiscal year 2020 federal spending legislation to study the causes and impacts of gun violence,” said Tom Roach, the Mayor of White Plains. “I know this funding is the direct result of the efforts of our federal delegation, and in particular Rep. Lowey. As an advocate for stricter gun laws, I have spoken with her on many occasions about the impact of gun violence on our communities. Rep. Lowey has listened and has translated our needs into real funding that will help lay a solid groundwork for reform. I am hopeful that this legislation will be quickly passed by the Senate and signed into law.”
“I am so happy that for the first time in 20 years we see $25 million going to fund CDC and NIH gun violence research. Gun violence is one of the leading causes of death in America, and federal funding for this epidemic is common sense and will save lives. Gun violence prevention advocates have been fighting for this funding for a long time, and the research that will come out of this will be beneficial in the fight to end gun violence,” explained Kelly Marx, Westchester County March For Our Lives Lead Organizer and founder of Team Enough NY.
“For far too long, the United States Congress put the political agenda of the gun lobby over our nation’s public health and safety. But today, with outraged Americans demanding solutions to gun violence and a new gun safety majority elected to the House of Representatives, change is happening,” former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said.
“Nearly 40,000 Americans lose their lives at the hands of firearms each year and more are gravely injured,” Lowey said. “With this investment, the best public health researchers in the country will be put to work to identify ways to reduce injury and death due to firearms.”
Lowey offered an amendment to restore funding for gun violence prevention research during floor consideration of the fiscal year 1997 spending bill, and as then-Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, offered amendments to provide direct funding for this research in fiscal years 2016-2019.
In addition, she is a member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and has been a leader in fighting to prevent gun violence, including working to strengthen background checks, close the terror gap loophole, and ban assault weapons. This federal funding package is expected to be signed into law today.