THOMPSON: FORMER REP. JAY DICKEY CALLS TO END FEDERAL BAN ON GUN VIOLENCE RESEARCH
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5), Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, today released a letter from former Republican U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey in which he calls for the Dickey Amendment to be repealed, and for federal research to be conducted on the causes of gun violence, provided that nothing is done to infringe the rights of gun ownership. The Dickey Amendment, authored in 1996, effectively blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC from carrying out the necessary research to better understand how to prevent gun violence.
“I commend Jay Dickey for taking this stand. As gun owners, we want to protect the Second Amendment. But at the same time, we recognize the fact that we can safeguard those rights while also allowing our expert scientists to conduct research on how to best prevent gun violence,” said Thompson. “There is not one good reason to keep this ban in place. Gun violence takes the lives of 30-plus Americans every single day. There are experts who are ready and able to look into what can be done to stop it. The problem right now is that they’re hamstrung. Doctors agree, medical professionals agree, even the author of the amendment agrees: it’s time to let our experts do what they do best – conduct research that will save some lives.”
In his letter Dickey writes, “Research could have been continued on gun violence without infringing on the rights of gun owners, in the same fashion that the highway industry continued its research without eliminating the automobile… it is my position that somehow or someway we should slowly but methodically fund such research until a solution is reached. Doing nothing is no longer an acceptable solution.”
Thompson’s task force, created in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, recommended that Congress should act to restore funding for research aimed at reducing gun violence.
Today on Capitol Hill, physicians with Doctors for America joined the National Physicians Alliance, Doctors Council, American Medical Women’s Association, American College of Preventive Medicine, The Committee of Interns and Residents, Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence, American Medical Student Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics released a petition signed by more than 2,000 doctors in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia urging Congress to remove these barriers to common sense research that have existed for nearly 20 years and include annual funding to identify causes and ways to prevent gun violence.
The full text of Dickey’s letter is below.
GUN VIOLENCE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH NEEDED
December 1, 2015
Many years ago the highway industry took on studying from a scientific viewpoint how head on collisions could be reduced. They didn’t include in their scope of study the elimination of the automobile, which would have been a simple solution, but what came out of this were three or four foot barricades that are placed in between lanes of traffic in our interstate highway system. We have all seen these fences, but what isn’t generally known is how overwhelmingly successful this project has become.
Back in 1998, I took part in cutting off gun violence research dollars at the federal level because of what was considered a misapplication of the dollars by the CDC. I have recently expressed my regrets that we didn’t continue that research with the provision that nothing shall be done in this project to infringe the rights of gun ownership as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution in the Second Amendment.
Research could have been continued on gun violence without infringing on the rights of gun owners, in the same fashion that the highway industry continued its research without eliminating the automobile.
There is no ready answer to the question “How are we going to accomplish the desired result of reducing gun violence under these circumstances?” For sure the same dilemma faced the scientists in the highway industry some years ago. The highway industry answered the question of how to reduce traffic fatalities through scientific research. In the same way, scientific research should help answer how we can best reduce gun violence.
Even though my opinion and the opinion of my colleague, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, have been spread to media outlets all over our country, there has been only one member of Congress who has expressed any support for this endeavor. I can tell that member that though there is no groundswell of agreement, at least I have not been tarred and feathered and run out of town…yet.
To sum this up, it is my position that somehow or someway we should slowly but methodically fund such research until a solution is reached. Doing nothing is no longer an acceptable solution.
Member of Congress, 1993-2000
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.
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