Dec 17, 2019

Congress approves $25 million in funding for gun violence research

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A federal spending deal reached in Congress Monday is set to allocate $25 million toward gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the National Institutes of Health.

Why it matters: Scientific reports show that a lack of data on gun violence has delayed pivotal reforms despite persistent mass shootings. The Dickey Amendment, which states that funds provided to the CDC may not be used to "advocate or promote gun control," has complicated efforts to conduct gun violence research since it was passed in 1996.

  • A de facto moratorium on the provision was slipped into legislation by Democrats last year, Business Insider notes.

The big picture: Guns are a consistently divisive issue in Congress. But while the chambers often get caught up on proposals like stronger background checks or assault weapons bans, research has a more mellow appeal.

  • Democrats are framing the funds as a major victory for gun control reform, despite having originally asked for $50 million.
  • Congress is set to pass the legislation later this week and send it to President Trump's desk.

Go deeper: Global gun violence targets worshippers of all faiths

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President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

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Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.