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Four Years After Tragedy at Sandy Hook, Senator Carper Releases Memo Detailing Federal Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence

Memo reveals lack of funding hinders federal efforts to conduct or support public health research on the causes and prevention of gun violence

Dec 14 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, four years after the tragic events of Sandy Hook, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a minority staff memo detailing federal support for public health research on gun violence.

At the request of Senator Carper, members of his staff received information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Justice, the National Research Council, and the National Science Foundation regarding efforts underway to support public health research on gun violence in accordance with President Obama’s January 2013 memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct or sponsor public health research on the causes and prevention of gun violence.

“As we mark four years since the tragedy at Sandy Hook and that horrific day, I am underwhelmed by the limited efforts being taken across the federal government to research gun violence and work to prevent similar tragedies in the future,” said Senator Carper in reaction to the staff memo. “This cannot be a partisan issue. Congress has a responsibility to support research aimed at preventing mass shootings and protect our children and families as they go about their daily lives. I applaud those agencies making use of limited funding to research the causes and prevention of gun violence, and I call on my colleagues in Congress to support further research efforts in order to seriously combat this public health crisis.”

According to the responding federal agencies, only modest steps have been taken by the federal government to improve data collection and increase evidence-based research. Although the Obama Administration has repeatedly requested additional resources for gun violence research since fiscal year 2014, Congress has not appropriated any direct funding for this effort. As a result, policymakers still lack scientifically sound evidence on what policies would help to reduce gun violence,” staff concludes.

The memo can be found here.