A north Texas mother and her son hold protest signs at the March for Our Lives sister rally in Denton, Texas, on March 24, 2018.
Caption
A north Texas mother and her son hold protest signs at the March for Our Lives sister rally in Denton, Texas, on March 24, 2018.

Congress granted $25 million in funding last week toward researching gun violence, the first of its kind in decades.

 GPB's Sarah Rose reports on new funding for gun violence research.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Health will split the funds. Congress stopped funding research on gun violence in 1996 following the passage of the Dickey Amendment, which prevented the CDC from advocating for gun control.

 

Former director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Mark Rosenberg said research on the issue is a step in the right direction.

 

“That's what we're unleashing now on gun violence: the power of science to solve the problem," Rosenberg said.

 

Rosenberg was asked in 1983 to head the CDC’s Violence Epidemiology Branch, a venture that was the first of its kind at the time. The team was tasked with trying to find a scientific solution to the issue of gun violence.

 

“In the past, most people thought that violence is just evil in this world and there's nothing you can do about it,” Rosenberg said. “We said, 'No, violence is not just evil. Violence is a problem.' And like other problems, you can ask questions.”

 

Rosenberg was later criticized by gun control advocates, including former Congressman Jay Dickey of Arkansas, who claimed he and other CDC employees were advocating for gun control. The criticism would lead to Rosenberg losing his job at the CDC in 1999.

 

MORE: Ex-Rep. Dickey Regrets Restrictive Law On Gun Violence Research

 

Dickey and Rosenberg would later become friends, with Dickey joining him on advocating for more research.

“Jay and I became very good friends,” Rosenberg said. “Jay decided that we should work together to show people that science would get us out of this and that we needed more science.”

Rosenberg says any solution needs to both prevent gun violence and also protect the rights of gun owners.

Nearly 40,000 Americans died in 2017 due to gun violence, according to the CDC.