Warner, Kaine call on Senate leaders to support gun safety research

warner-kaineAs the Senate considers Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations legislation, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined 21 Democratic colleagues in a letter urging Senate leadership to remove from the funding bills any measures that undermine gun safety research, including one known as the “Dickey amendment.”

A 1996 Republican appropriations rider authored by former Congressman Jay Dickey (R-AR) prohibits federal funds from being used to “advocate or promote” gun control. Many have misconstrued the rider as banning federal research into the causes of gun violence. Rep. Dickey (R-Ark.) has publicly stated that he now supports funding gun violence prevention research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Only the United States government is in a position to establish an integrated public-health research agenda to understand the causes of gun violence and identify the most effective strategies for prevention,” the Senators wrote in the letter to Senate Leaders Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid. “As the Senate considers FY2017 appropriations bills, we urge you to remove this and any other anti-gun safety policy riders, and to support potentially life-saving funding for gun violence prevention research.”

This month, Kaine announced his support for the CDC Research on Firearms Safety or Gun Violence Prevention Act, a bill that would also lift the de facto twenty-year ban on firearms safety and gun violence prevention research at the CDC.

In addition to Warner and Kaine, the letter was also signed by Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeffrey A. Merkley, (D-OR), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Tom Carper (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Tom Udall (D-NM).

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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