Democrats in the House and Senate are pushing to spend $60 million for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research gun violence, rekindling a debate over whether political agendas taint these taxpayer-funded studies.
The legislation, introduced by Sen. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat, would provide $10 million a year for six years, beginning in 2015, for the research.
President Obama, who last year lifted the 17-year ban on studies of violence involving firearms, included $10 million for the research in his 2015 budget proposal. But that proposal went down along with the rest of Mr. Obama’s spending plan in a crushing 413-2 defeat in the House.
“It is time we study the issue of gun violence like the public health crisis it is,” Mr. Markey said. “If we want to prevent injury and deaths from guns, we need to know what can be done to prevent it. No one should be afraid of more nonpartisan, scientific research of this issue — not Democrats, not Republicans and not the [National Rifle Association].”
The NRA, which played a leading role in implementing the ban on federal gun-violence research in 1996, has vowed to fight the new funding. The pro-gun group calls the proposed research “junk science” that it says is intended at bolstering gun control efforts.
“The reason the funding was yanked was because the CDC was using taxpayer dollars to push a political agenda” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said. “It’s wrong to use taxpayer money to push a political agenda and undermine a fundamental Constitutional right.”
The NRA will be pressing lawmakers to oppose the bill, he said.
The legislation already faced an uphill battle in the Republican-run House, as well as an uncertain fate in the Democratic-run Senate, which has been unable to advance any legislation through a partisan gridlock.