Never Again Movement: Fund More Gun Violence Research

Olivia Bratton, Copy Editor

Before debating and releasing statements about a topic, most people turn to the internet or library to research the facts first. However, with the Dickey Amendment in place, politicians and citizens cannot gather necessary statistics about gun violence in America. Research regarding gun violence needs to receive more funding so our country can work to understand the problem and develop better solutions.

According to The Change, the 1996 Dickey Amendment states that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” Also in the bill, Congress removed the $2.6 million in the CDC’s budget for gun violence research and distributed it to other areas.

The amendment was introduced because of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) powerful influence over the government. After the CDC released a study that found having a gun in the home lead to an increased risk of homicide in the home, the NRA lobbied Congress to make a change.

Not only did these actions literally cut the funding, but it also sent a message to the CDC that if their research opposes the gun lobby, it could lead to a significant budget cut.

With this sudden halt in gun violence research, the exact causes of America’s rise of mass shootings will remain unknown. Also, there is a lack of factual evidence for both political sides to base their arguments for gun control around.

Former Rep. Jay Dickey of Arkansas, the amendment sponsor, ultimately regretted the amendment. In an interview on NPR, Dickey explained that he only aimed for the amendment to limit the amount of money going to gun control advocacy.

When asked why gun violence research has stopped all together, Dickey responded,“ I don’t know, but that’s where my regret is. I was on to other things… And I didn’t follow through and say, we need – still need to do research. I didn’t do that.”

In terms of preventing the gun epidemic from worsening even further, should we focus on mental health or banning assault rifles? Are schools safer with metal detectors or armed police officers? Our country may not be able to agree on a solution solely from our common sense, but research would not be questionable.

America needs to address its devastating gun issue before it continues to affect more and more innocent lives. The first step should be to encourage adequate research. Repealing or adjusting the Dickey amendment would open the door to discovering fact-based solutions.

If you want your opinion on the Dickey Amendment to be heard, contact your elected officials or sign the petition to restore gun violence research funding.