March 31, 2023

Duckworth, Durbin Join Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Boost Gun Violence Prevention Research at CDC, Urge Stronger Action on Gun Safety in Wake of Tragic School Shooting


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – As the nation reels from yet another tragic school shooting this week, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and U.S. Representatives Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-07), Mark Takano (D-CA-39), and Marilyn Strickland (D-WA-10) to reintroduce legislation to fund research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better understand and address the nation’s ongoing gun violence epidemic, a public health crisis which in the past five years has taken the lives of more than 180,000 people across the United States. As of 2020, firearm-related injuries have become the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the U.S.

“It is so heartbreaking that we are at this point—where gun violence is the leading cause of death for America’s young ones,” said Duckworth. “I know that, while Republicans refuse to work towards banning assault weapons, we must address this crisis at all angles—including through federally-supported gun violence prevention research. By looking to some of our nation’s brightest minds, we can work to reduce this nightmare that we experience far too regularly in our schools, neighborhoods and churches.”

“We must treat the scourge of gun violence in the country as what it truly is – a public health crisis.  Like we do with chronic diseases, tobacco use, and automobile safety, we must study the health risks to improve our safety measures. Through the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act, we can expand CDC’s gun violence prevention research and explore how our communities are impacted by violence as well as the most effective ways to curb the toll of deadly shootings,” said Durbin.

Specifically, the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act would authorize $50 million each fiscal year over the next five years to boost CDC’s firearms safety and gun violence prevention research – building upon already successful efforts to secure a total of $100 million for federal gun violence prevention research between fiscal years 2020 and 2023. Currently, CDC is supporting more than 20 individual research projects dedicated to the study of gun violence prevention – including research on understanding the unique harms posed to young people, mitigating gun violence in highest-risk communities, and stopping firearm suicides among military service members and veterans, and more.

A copy of the legislation can be found here.

The Gun Violence Prevention Research Act is endorsed by Brady, Everytown, March For Our Lives, Stop Handgun Violence, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and Giffords.

“Gun violence traumatizes communities everyday in every state across our nation, with communities of color affected disproportionately,” said Sonya Coleman, Board Chair of States United to Prevent Gun Violence. “SUPGV and our 31 grassroots state organizations work to ensure change happens. Research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention is vital to advance effective legislation that will reduce gun deaths and injuries.”

"As we continue to experience record-high levels of gun violence in America, it is increasingly important to improve our understanding of gun incidents, identify the sources of firearms, and evaluate gun storage methods. This can only be done if the CDC is given adequate and sustained funding to conduct thorough, evidence-based research on this issue," said Kris Brown, President of Brady.

“With gun violence claiming the lives of more than 48,000 Americans in 2021, it is critical that Congress invest in researching the causes and solutions to this devastating public health crisis. Deaths due to gun violence far outpace deaths due to other epidemics that have garnered substantial attention from the public health community. Throughout history, the most effective response to public health and safety problems has coupled comprehensive research efforts with policy reforms focused on identifying and mitigating risk,” said Adzi Vokhiwa, Federal Affairs Director at Giffords.

“Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and young people in America,” said Trevon Bosley, Board Member at March For Our Lives. “We deserve to live and thrive in communities free from such devastation. The Gun Violence Prevention Research Act is a step forward in reimagining public safety and studying the root causes of gun violence so we can work together to develop evidence-based solutions.”

Additional Senate cosponsors include U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ.), Peter Welch (D-VT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gilibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Chris Coons (D-DE).