Letter to the Editor: The Dickey Amendment

In 1996, the U.S. government passed the Dickey Amendment. Lobbied by the NRA and sponsored by Arkansas representative Jay Dickey, this law prohibits the Center of Disease Control (CDC) to spend any money on research about gun violence. The law was passed in response to a 1993 government-sponsored study that concluded ownership of a gun increased the risk of homicide in the household. And because of the lack of funds given for the purpose of accurate gun information, I hold the stance that the Dickey amendment needs to be repealed.

“Gun violence fatalities are almost equivalent to motor vehicle fatalities – 33,636 and 33,804 per year, respectively – yet the federal government dedicates $240 million per year to traffic safety research and virtually nothing to gun violence research. The limited gun violence research that does exist is largely funded by private sources and amounts to well under $5 million per year,” reports the Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD). “A research letter published in JAMA in January 2017 estimates that gun violence kills about the same number of people as sepsis each year. In relation to mortality rates, gun violence was the least-researched cause of death in the United States, according to this study.”  

Keep in mind, the repeal of the Dickey amendment doesn’t take away the second amendment. It doesn’t even restrict it. All this repeal means is an open conversation about what gun control could look like, and if it’s even necessary. It allows the country to research the effect of guns in America so we can understand their true power.

As U.S. citizens, the most logical thing to do in order to repeal the Dickey Amendment is to call our congressional representatives. But in order to make a change, we have to call them about the issue more than once. I pledge to call my representative at least twice a month, and I hope you do as well.


Representative Bill Foster:(630) 585-7672  District 11

Representative Randy Hultgren:(630) 584-2734   District 14

Representative Peter Roskam: (630) 232-0006  District 6

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