Maloney Seeks $10M For Gun Violence Research
Congressmember Carolyn B. Maloney (DNY) on February 22 joined with gun violence victims, advocates, and local leaders to call on President Obama to commit $10 million in his Fiscal Year 2015 budget for gun violence research. In 2013, Obama lifted a 17-year ban on federal gun violence research, but there has been no funding specifically appropriated for the effort. Earlier this week, Maloney and U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to the president to request the funding.
“Gun violence costs our country an estimated $174 billion every year,” said Maloney. “All we’re asking for is six one-hundredths of a percent of that amount to help figure out why and prevent future tragedies. The president included this funding in his previous budget, and I hope that he will again this year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a research plan in place. Now they need the funding to move forward.”
“The New York state legislature tackled this issue head-on last session, resulting in the most comprehensive gun laws in the United States. One of the biggest issues associated with gun violence throughout the country is individuals with mental health problems. New York state’s legislation aimed to directly address this problem by creating oversight mechanisms for individuals with guns that suffer from mental health illnesses. The research funding that Congresswoman Maloney is requesting will take direct aim at remedying this problem on a nationwide level. I commend her on her efforts and I stand together with my colleagues in government in asking President Obama to allocate the necessary funding to research gun violence,” said Assemblymember Joseph Lentol.
“There is a shameful dearth of unbiased, scientific study and research on gun violence – despite the fact that Americans murder each other with guns at nearly 20 times the rate of residents of other high-income countries,” said Kristen Pettit of the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“We at Moms Demand Action wholeheartedly support Congresswoman Maloney’s call for significant funding for the study of gun violence. Meaningful policy decisions must be based on facts, not NRA bought-and-paid-for fiction.”
In January, 2013, Maloney authored H.R. 321, the Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act, which would allow the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct scientific research into firearm safety.
Since the mid-1990s, federal funding for this gun violence research has almost halted entirely in response to calls from the pro-gun lobby. As a result, policymakers, doctors, counselors, and others lack comprehensive, scientific information about the causes and characteristics of gun violence, or the best strategies to prevent future tragedies.
In 2012, the CDC devoted just $100,000 to gun violence research, yet according to the Department of Justice, guns are involved in 70 percent of homicides, and kill or injure tens of thousands each year, including one child every 34 minutes.
Last year, more than 100 leading public health researchers sent a letter to Vice President Biden’s Commission on Gun Violence urging investment in scientific research to address the paltry basic research on gun violence.
Maloney is also the sponsor of the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 (H.R. 452). The first bipartisan bill introduced in the House in the wake of the Newtown Elementary School tragedy, Maloney’s legislation makes gun trafficking a federal crime and imposes stronger penalties for “straw purchasers”, those who buy guns for convicted felons and others who are prohibited from buying guns on their own. H.R. 452 is endorsed by several major law enforcement organizations, including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and the Major Cities Chiefs Association, along with numerous gun control advocacy groups such as Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.