LETTER: Just the facts, Fred

In response to a protest sign carried in the March for Our Lives event in St. Joseph on March 24, Rep. Fred Upton stated that, contrary to the sign, he had not blocked research into gun violence, and indeed had voted for it in the previous day’s Omnibus Bill.

Upton claimed that the bill he voted for rescinded the Dickey Amendment, which limits gun violence research. That is a great tag line for a Gun Violence Prevention march, but it turns out that it’s not true.

The Dickey amendment, which was passed in 1996 by a Republican-controlled Congress, states that: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” In the seven years after this amendment passed, funding for gun violence research at the CDC was reduced by more than 90%.

During the Obama administration, numerous efforts were made by Democratic representatives to repeal the Dickey amendment and restore funding to the CDC for gun violence reduction research. These efforts were repeatedly blocked by Congressional Republicans, including Fred Upton.

The Omnibus spending bill that Upton recently voted for does not repeal the Dickey amendment. The only thing it does is clarify that the amendment allows the CDC to conduct research on the causes of gun violence, but not on steps to reduce gun violence. In other words, it changes nothing.

It is way past time for the Dickey amendment to be repealed and the CDC to be fully supported in researching all aspects of gun violence, including measures to reduce this epidemic. If Upton won’t support such legislation, we need to elect someone who will.

This is why we march!

Durie Bennett

Galien, Michigan

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