U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) and U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) on Wednesday reintroduced legislation that would fund research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better understand and address the nation’s ongoing gun violence epidemic.
The Gun Violence Prevention Research Act would authorize $50 million each fiscal year over the next five years to boost the CDC’s firearms safety and gun violence prevention research.
Slotkin and Markey unveiled the legislation at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday alongside Dylan Morris and Devin Woodruff, students at Oxford High School and MSU, respectively, who both survived the two mass school shootings that occurred in Michigan in the last year and a half.
Slotkin – who represented Oxford at the time of the Oxford High School shooting and currently represents Michigan State University – is the only member of Congress to represent two communities that have suffered school shootings.
Slotkin also introduced two other gun safety bills in the House:
• The No Crime Left Behind Act, which would prohibit the transfer of a firearm to a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor in which a firearm was used, carried, or possessed, for three years following conviction; and
• The Pause for Safety Act, which would require a one-week waiting or “cooling off” period before a person may receive a firearm.
“Gun violence is now the leading cause of death among American children, and in Oxford and at MSU, I’ve seen the long-term pain and trauma these tragedies inflict on entire communities,” said Slotkin. “So have Dylan and Devin – the Oxford and MSU students joining us today who have survived both. We, as a society, need to step up and decide to protect our kids so that an entire generation of young Americans isn’t defined by gun violence.”
Slotkin said the bills she was introducing, including one that was written based on the circumstances of the shooting at MSU – are a step towards addressing the gun violence epidemic.
“Preventing more gun violence in our schools and on our streets is a matter of homeland security – not politics,” she said. “These bills take concrete actions to make it harder for people to commit acts of violence with a gun. As elected officials, our most basic responsibility is to protect our children from the things that are truly harming them, and this package of legislation will help us save lives by addressing some of the root causes of the gun violence epidemic.”
Sen. Markey said he was “outraged and horrified” by the massacre in Nashville, which took the lives of three innocent children.
“We cannot keep living this way, and our children cannot keep dying this way,” said Markey. “From our streets to our schools, it’s clear that Congress hasn’t yet done what it’s going to take to end this fatal crisis. Stopping the spread of our nation’s gun violence epidemic will require acting on the reforms we already know are essential, like an immediate assault weapons ban, while we simultaneously invest more to study the root causes of violence and develop evidence-based solutions.”
Markey said his legislation would bolster gun violence prevention research with the help of the nation’s top medical, scientific, and public health researchers, in order to chart a path out of this public health crisis and save lives.