April 24, 2024

CDC and NIH Have Violated the Pro-Gun Dickey Amendment Restriction

The “Dickey Amendment”—which has been included in every government funding bill since 1994—is supposed to prevent the weaponization of research at CDC and NIH to create biased, politically motivated research for politicians and bureaucrats to use to promote and advocate for gun control. It simply says that “none of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.”Today, the CDC interprets the Dickey Amendment language “to mean that CDC’s funds may not be spent on political action or other activities designed to affect the passage of specific Federal, State, or local legislation intended to restrict or control the purchase or use of firearms.”[i] Yet, the federal government has been ignoring Congress for some time now. Congress needs to stop funding “Firearm Mortality and Injury Prevention Research entirely or further restrict its funding to non-political medical research only. For example, here is one perfectly acceptable study:

  • $444K for helping veterans who experience “epilepsy after penetrating brain injury” such as battlefield gunshot wounds.[ii]

If federal tax dollars are going to be funding research related to “firearm injury and mortality prevention” then finding out the best way to treat gunshot wounds seems like a reasonable thing to study.

However, the overwhelming majority of firearm-related studies are clearly designed to produce an outcome which may be used to advocate or promote gun control in violation of Dickey. Check out these studies which are clearly designed and intended to evaluate gun laws so that policy makers can promote and advocate for gun control:

  • $1,100,000 to study the “relationship between lawful gun ownership and risk”;[iii]
  • $490,000 to study “a state with Constitutional Carry versus a stater with strict gun control”;[iv]
  • $333,000 to “evaluate” gun confiscation laws and gun purchase wait periods in California;[v]
  • $518,000 “to enhance policy implementation” of “expanded background checks, [in]secure firearm storage requirements” and gun confiscation laws in Michigan;[vi]
  • $3,600,000 to study “firearm retirement” for senior citizens which “will strongly parallel (key but not all) aspects of driving retirement”;[vii]
  • $650,000 to study “firearm prohibitions and relinquishment”;[viii]
  • $1,200,000 to run a study including “in person and telehealth wellness check-ins” which explicitly include “safety (e.g., guns at home…)”;[ix]
  • $428,000 to study how “episodic crime reports… that depict violence as a ‘crime’ issue… can lead audiences to blame victims [and] reinforce racist stereotypes”;[x]
  • $349,000 to find out if state gun control “firearm laws reduce mortality”;[xi]
  • $126,000 to find out why Black Americans are six times more likely “to experience an assault-related firearm injury” as White Americans;[xii]
  • $2,100,000 “to inform evidence-based interventions that prevent firearm injury risks involving Asian Americans” caused by their mere “firearm possession;”[xiii] and more.

This is why last year Representative Mary Miller-Meeks proposed an amendment which read:

“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct or support any firearm injury and mortality prevention research.”

This GOA-backed amendment passed the House of Representatives 216-211.[xiv] Now the question is, will it be retained in the final CDC and NIH funding or will anti-gunners get more gun control research funding? GOA also supports language to allow for common-sense medical research without allowing for anti-gun and politicized research, which can be found in H.R. 3212 the GOA-backed Shall Not Be Infringed Act as introduced by Lauren Boebert. This GOA-backed legislation prevents gun control research but also says CDC and NIH “may carry out research on medical procedures, practices, treatments, medicines, and therapies related to firearm injuries and recovery.”

 

[i] June 29, 2021. Additional Requirement-13. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

[ii] Rector & Visitors of The University of Virginia. Grant Number: R21NS130385. Department of Health and Human Services.

[iii] The Leland Stanford Junior University. Grant Number: R01AG076382. Department of Health and Human Services.

[iv] Florida State University. Grant Number: R01MD017204. Department of Health and Human Services.

[v] University of Pittsburg-of The Commonwealth of Higher Education. Grant Number: R01CE003630. Department of Health and Human Services.

[vi] Regents of the University of Michigan. Grant Number: K18MH135466. Department of Health and Human Services.

[vii] The Regents of the University of Colorado. Grant Number: R01AG059613. Department of Health and Human Services.

[viii] Seattle Children’s Hospital. Grant Number: R01CE003623. Department of Health and Human Services.

[ix] Northwestern University. Grant Number: R01MD016280. Department of Health and Human Services.

[x] Temple University- of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. Grant Number: R21MD019088. Department of Health and Human Services.

[xi] University of California, Los Angeles. Grant Number: R01CE003617. Department of Health and Human Services.

[xii] Syracuse University. Grant Number: R21MD019083. Department of Health and Human Services.

[xiii] Regents of the University of Michigan. Grant Number: RF1NR020753. Department of Health and Human Services.

[xiv] Clerk. November 15, 2023. Roll Call 674. United States House of Representatives.

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