Maryland Attorney General Urges Congress to Address Calls for Immediate Action into Research for Gun Related Deaths or Injuries
In 1996, Congress included a provision in the annual appropriations bill prohibiting the use of any CDC funds "to advocate or promote gun control." In an effort led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Attorney General Frosh and 12 other attorneys general, sent a letter today calling for Congress not only to eliminate the annual rider that blocks gun research efforts, but also to direct funding for the CDC to study the causes of gun violence. The goal is to help determine the most effective prevention strategies.
"Gun safety and the prevention of gun violence is and has been a top priority for me," said Attorney General Frosh. "While we are working at the state level to address gun violence, efforts on a national level need to take place. Gun related injuries and deaths are an epidemic in our country, and the time to act is now. Providing the CDC with resources will help tackle gun violence in our nation."
Analyses of prevention measures, such as counseling by healthcare providers, and scientific research into the root cause and psychology of gun violence are needed to help reduce the number of gun violence victims. Unfortunately, while more than half a million Americans have died by firearms over the past twenty years, federal funding for gun violence research has been cut by 96 percent. In their letter, the attorneys general state that sidelining the CDC severely limits data collection and discourages public health professionals from working in this field.
According to the letter, more than 33,000 people die every year in the United States from gun violence. Unintentional shootings account for 600 more deaths annually. Gun violence also disproportionately affects communities of color, as African Americans are nearly twice as likely to be injured or killed by guns as white individuals.
As a member of the Maryland General Assembly, Attorney General Frosh was the chief advocate of the Maryland Firearm Safety Act of 2013, regarded as one of the strongest gun safety laws in the nation. Since the law's handgun licensing requirements took effect, 834 handgun qualification license applications have been disapproved, mainly for misdemeanor or felony convictions.
Attorney General Frosh last year sent a letter to each Attorney General in the U.S. updating them on research from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy Research showing that handgun licensing requirements lead to a reduction in gun homicides.
Attorney General Frosh is working in collaboration with District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring to reduce and address gun violence in the national capital region, a first-of-its-kind regional partnership.
A full copy of the letter can be found here: https://www.oag.state.md.us/Press/CDC_Gun_Violence_Research.PDF