Repeal the Dickey Amendment: Restore CDC Funding to Research Gun Violence

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In the wake of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, the passion and rage of the anti-gun violence movement is laudable and necessary. On an average day 96 Americans die of gun violence ( According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Vital Statistics Reports, it is a leading cause of death. Our nation has a real public health problem. All Americans are at risk. You. Me. Our children. Our loved ones. But it’s not being treated as a public health threat.

In its own words the "CDC is the nation’s health protection agency, working 24/7 to protect America from health and safety threats, both foreign and domestic. CDC increases the health security of our nation.” This may be true for preventing deaths related to motor vehicles, cigarettes, workplace hazards, farm equipment, etc, but it is not true for firearms. Why, when tens of thousands of Americans die from gun violence every year, should it not provoke the same level of attention and research? You can blame it on Congress.

Congress passed the Dickey Amendment as an addition to the 1996 U.S. Omnibus Spending Bill cutting a large portion of funding for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Injury Prevention and Control Center. The bill says, “Provided further, That none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control”. It has had an enormous effect on eliminating research on gun violence by federally funded organizations. And this has to change!

Even Jay Dickey himself, (the republican congressman that sponsored the legislation), said in an NPR interview that he regrets the effects of the amendment: “All this time that we have had, we would've found a solution, in my opinion. And I think it's a shame that we haven't,” (NPR).

Public health research on deaths due to gun violence could add a new and powerful strategy in the argument for stronger measures to prevent gun violence. But the Dickey Amendment continues to get in the way of the CDC doing its job. This is completely unacceptable, and our lack of action towards the prevention of these tragedies continues to pose a public health threat.

I, like many of you, am completely fed up with the endless cycle of violence and protest resulting in no action by Congress. The Dickey amendment leaves our children, friends and family unprotected and at continued risk. Gun violence is a random and pervasive threat. Abolishing the Dickey Amendment is a necessary first step in identifying the root causes of gun violence and protecting American lives. Tell our legislators it’s time to let the CDC do their job. It’s time for public health research that will identify ways to prevent tragic, senseless deaths and save American lives. We deserve nothing less from the organization that claims to protect us from threats to our health and safety. Sign this petition to tell congress to abolish the Dickey Amendment because ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. 

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