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CDC funds first 16 gun violence studies since Stephanie Murphy bill

Federal government’s first checks to gun violence researchers since mid-1990s.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has awarded 16 grants to pay for gun violence research, the first since Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy‘s bill was approved lifting the federal ban on such grants, her office announced Thursday.

The $7.8 million in grants go to researchers in North Carolina, Michigan, California, Alabama, and elsewhere to study such things as firearm behavioral practices and suicide risk in U.S. Army soldiers and veterans, and evaluation of an app created to teach children hunting, shooting, and firearms safety.

The grants represent the first effort by the federal government to put money toward gun violence research since the mid-1990s.

And that is just a first installment. Murphy secured roughly $25 million in the federal budget for research programs through both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and through the National Institutes of Health.

Federal money was unavailable for such research since Congress approved the “Dickey Amendment” in 1996, banning federal support for firearms research.

The research had been opposed as a possible affront to 2nd Amendment rights.

Murphy is campaigning for a third term against Republican Leo Valentin, an Orlando doctor who is an avowed 2nd Amendment rights advocate.

Murphy, of Winter Park, worked through most of her first year and a half in office on a bill to get the amendment repealed. She ultimately got the repeal language amended to a budget bill that was approved by Congress and signed in 2018.

“I’m proud to see the United States is finally treating gun violence like the public health threat that it is and devoting resources to get the data we need to save lives,” Murphy said in a news release issued by her office Thursday. “After years of fighting to lift the effective ban on gun violence research and helping to secure critical research funding, I’m pleased to see this historic research begin. I remain hopeful this major federal investment will lead to commonsense solutions that will better protect our communities and our children.”

The 16 research projects selected for the first round of post-Dickey federal funding propose investigations into a wide area of gun violence causes, effects, and prevention strategies.

The grants range in size from $299,000 going to a two-year University of California-Davis study into whether adolescents living in communities with high levels of gun violence enter a cycle of more violence; to a three-year University of Michigan study into whether an emergency-room based intervention program is effective to discourage adolescents from future gun violence.

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 scott@floridapolitics.com.

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