New Spending Bill Lets CDC Study Gun Violence

The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law on March 23 is accompanied by language that clarifies a 1996 rule that limited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from funding research projects related to firearms. The provision, known as the Dickey Amendment, states that no funds from the CDC “may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” Researchers told ASH Clinical News that the Dickey Amendment didn’t explicitly ban research on firearms, but it has been interpreted conservatively and essentially squashed all such federal funding.

The new language states that the CDC can conduct research into gun violence, but Congress will not necessarily allocate funds for such research.

Mark Rosenberg, MD, MPP, who directed research on firearm violence at the CDC in 1997 and saw his staff and research projects slashed after the passage of the Dickey Amendment, said, “It’s recognition by Congress after all these years that, ‘Yes, we want to know what the science has to tell us.’”

Sources: The Washington Post, March 22, 2018; ASH Clinical News, December 1, 2017.