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Doctors, Nurses and Leaders Want to Restore Funding For Gun Violence Research

Update Date: Apr 08, 2016 05:11 AM EDT

Congress was asked by a group of doctors and nurses to let the US Centers for Disease Control research gun violence as a national public health concern, something that it has not done for more than two decades.

Local community leaders and gunshot victims believe that the move could lead to a notable reduction in shootings. However, the Congress refused to spend on gun research.

The pressure is now on for local and national leaders to acknowledge gun violence the same way as the public health concerns do, according to WLKY.

Ki'Anthony Tyus from Louisville spent his spring break on a basketball court on a video game instead of a real one. He was struck by a stray bullet in his thigh after playing basketball last summer.

His recovery costs tons of money for his guardian and grandmother. "$10k. The other came, it was saying, for his therapy, like, $15k. When I look at (the bills), I pray about them and give them to God!" Ki'Anthony's grandmother, Ernestine Tyus, said. Ki'Anthony has insurance; however, his grandmother has to pay for the rest.

Between 2003 and 2010, the majority of local gunshot victims are indigent, according to a research by UofL professor Dr. Bill Smock. That means taxpayers shoulders the bills.

Because of that, CDC and many others declared gun violence a public health concern. They are now pushing the agency to research its cause and effects.

"And we need an organization like the CDC to quantify that and to look at that public health model perspective so that we can (look at) those risk and protective factors and identify evidence-based practices that are going to help cities reduced and then disseminate those practices widely," Metro Director of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Rashaad Abdur-Rahman said.

On the other hand, a group of 141 medical organizations sent a letter to four senior members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees telling them to bring back the funding for gun violence research at the CDC, The Trace reported.

"Medical professionals and our communities work to address the devastating and long-lasting physical and emotional effects of gun violence on victims, their families, and their friends, but are hampered by the insufficient body of evidence-based research to use to point communities toward proven gun violence prevention programs and policies," the letter reads.

An umbrella group that advocates for affordable healthcare called Doctors for America released a letter asking the Congress to review a 1996 tack-on to an appropriations bill that "has had a dramatic chilling effect" on the CDC's gun research efforts, known as the Dickey Amendment. It prohibits CDC from using its funding to "advocate or promote gun control." It is the reason for the CDC's reluctance to study gun violence for nearly 20 years.

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