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Stephanie Murphy bill to repeal ban on gun violence research

Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy introduced a bill Thursday to repeal the federal ban on scientific research into gun violence and then blasted any fellow members of Congress who “seek to suppress research” as un-American.

Murphy, from Winter Park, specifically referred to the June 12 massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub as one reason for her sponsorship but also noted the 33,000 annual gun deaths in America, calling it “the daily drumbeat of violence.”

Her bill, which she dubbed the “Gun Violence Research Act,” would repeal provisions that prevent the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies from researching gun violence and firearm injury prevention.

“This research would inform policymakers as they consider whether to enact reasonable reforms that both save lives and protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Murphy said on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday.

“The decision rests with elected officials about whether to pass new laws designed to keep the most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the most dangerous individuals, in a manner consistent with the Second Amendment,” she continued. “But lawmakers of both parties should have the benefit of the best scientific research on the subject as they deliberate and debate.”

The bill likely will face powerful and potentially united Republican opposition, as the 20-year-old ban on federal funding of gun violence research has been an unmovable position for many years.

Murphy took aim in advance of anyone ready to defend the ban.

“I can respect that elected officials, like the diverse Americans they represent, have a range of views about the wisdom of enacting reasonable reforms within the space allowed by the Second Amendment,” she said on the floor. “What I cannot respect is any lawmaker who would seek to suppress research into gun-related incidents merely because the lawmaker fears this research could serve as the basis for legislative action that the lawmaker does not favor.

“Restricting research because you may disagree with its results is un-American to its core, a deviation from our proud national tradition of free and open inquiry.”

In a press release issued by her office, Murphy proclaimed it is time to act.

“No community should ever go through an attack like we saw at the Pulse nightclub and too many people around the nation are dying from gun-related incidents. It is past time to act,” Murphy stated. “Across the spectrum of public safety, we know research saves lives. To deny lawmakers and other public officials access to critical, life-saving data is to allow decisions to be made based on politics, not facts. My bill allows evidence-based research into one of the leading causes of death in America that will help us save lives.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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