WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) – Senator Tim Kaine is supporting legislation that would increase funding for research into gun violence and broaden the use of background checks.
Kaine made the announcement on Thursday, which is also National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Sen. Kaine says the legislation will provide $10 million each year thru 2021 for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC would then use the money to conduct, or support, research on firearms safety or gun violence prevention.
“I’m proud to support the CDC Research on Firearms Safety or Gun Violence Prevention Act and the Fix Gun Checks Act – two commonsense pieces of legislation to reduce gun violence in our communities and ultimately save lives,” Kaine said in a news release. 10 On Your Side requested an interview with Kaine, but his staff told us he was unavailable.
Sen. Kaine says a rider on legislation from 20 years ago, known as the Dickey Amendment, was misinterpreted by the CDC as a freeze on firearms research.
In an email to 10 On Your Side, the CDC says it curtailed its previous research on gun violence not because it was legally prohibited, but rather because in 1997 Congress cut the CDC’s budget.
“Congress cannot be complacent when gun violence remains so prevalent in American society. The CDC has the potential to play a vital role in addressing this epidemic,” The CDC says.
According to the group Everytown for Gun Safety, funding for the CDC’s research on gun violence has fallen 96 percent in the past 20 years.
10 On Your Side also reached out to the NRA for comment. The group’s statement says there is no prohibition on funding the CDC for legitimate research. Spokesman Lars Dalseide says the rider Kaine described from 1996 prohibits taxpayer dollars being used to promote an anti-gun agenda.
Full statement from NRA Spokesperson Lars Dalseide;
There is no prohibition on funding for legitimate research. The rider simply prohibits taxpayer dollars being used to promote an anti-gun agenda. It was enacted in 1996 because the CDC demonstrated a practice of using taxpayer dollars to promote gun control instead of concentrating on legitimate research. Even the then CDC Director and gun-control advocate Mark Rosenburg recently advocated for the rider to stay in place to ensure that funding is spent on legitimate research.
Kaine says the Fix Gun Checks Act would require background checks even for gun shows, internet sales and other private gun transfers.
According to the CDC, more than 117,000 Americans are non-fatally injured or die each year from a gunshot wound. That makes firearm-related injuries among the five leading causes of death for people aged one to 64 in the United States.
To mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day, the group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, will hold a “Wear Orange” rally Thursday evening in Virginia Beach.
The rally will be in the playground area of Mount Trashmore beginning at 6:30 p.m.