Part of the spending deal meant to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of this week includes $25 million in taxpayer funds to be spent on federal research into gun violence.
In a Monday statement, Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro took credit for securing the funds, saying that the resulting research would "help us better understand the correlation between domestic violence and gun violence, how Americans can more safely store guns, and how we can intervene to reduce suicide by firearms."
According to The Hill, the agreement would give $12.5 million each for the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. It marks the first time in over two decades that Congress has directly appropriated money for the purpose of researching gun violence. The $25 million total is half of the $50 million Congressional Democrats asked for earlier in spending negotiations.
In a statement to Blaze Media about the news, Congressional Second Amendment Caucus Chair Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) warned that the funds would be used to generate biased, anti-gun research at taxpayers' expense.
"The inherent bias at NIH and CDC in deciding how this money will be spent will compel left wing researchers to compete with each other to cook up the most anti-gun results possible," Massie said. "As with the climate change research industry and the privately funded gun-violence research industry, this newly christened government-funded gun-violence research industry will work mainly to justify its own existence, and unbiased voices won't be funded or even tolerated."
Gun control advocate and former Democratic Congresswoman Gabby Giffords hailed the funding as a "historic win," noting it as the first time Congress had appropriated such funds in over 20 years. The reason for this, her statement says, is a longstanding federal spending provision known the Dickey Amendment, which says that federal funds can't be used for the advocacy or promotion of gun control. Gun control advocates have long said that the rule acted as a de facto prohibition on federal gun violence research and celebrated a 2018 clarification in a spending bill that it said it didn't ban research.
A 2018 blog post from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, however, pointed out that CDC gun research hadn't stopped during the time period between the amendment's inception and the passage of the 2018 language:
The CDC was never barred from any such research. In fact, the CDC has studied guns and suicide, noise and lead exposure at ranges, firearm violence prevention in Wilmington, Del., and issued a report on firearms homicides and suicides in metropolitan areas. That doesn't include a bevy of FBI, Department of Justice and Congressional studies.
In fact, former President Barack Obama famously ordered the CDC to do a study on gun violence in 2013 in the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. But what the agency found out ended up running contrary to a lot of what gun control advocates might have hoped for.
Among its several published findings, the CDC research pointed out that the use of guns in self-defense is actually pretty common, that gun buyback programs aren't very effective at lowering crime, and that there are "consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies."