Giffords opens $2M taxpayer-funded gun violence health research center

Gun control advocate Gabby Giffords help kick off the new state-funded research center in New Jersey focused on studying gun policy as a health care issue. (Photo: Larry Levanti/Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy via Rutgers)

The gun control advocate was on hand Thursday in New Jersey to inaugurate the new center established to fill a perceived gap in the study of gun violence by federal public health organizations.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords helped announce the designation of Rutgers University as New Jersey’s Center on Gun Violence Research. The goal of the center is to produce data on gun violence, which advocates contend is not conducted by the federally-funded Centers for Disease Control over political issues. The CGVR is paid for by a $2 million grant awarded through the State of New Jersey.

The center is an initiative by Rutgers’ University Behavioral Health Care and the School of Criminal Justice to study the nature of firearms violence from the perspective of the victim and perpetrator as well as larger community and societal consequences. Researchers would work with lawmakers and state agencies on an ongoing basis to identify what is characterized as “violence prevention policies and programs.”

New Jersey’s Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and others argue the Dickey Amendment shortcut federal funding for gun research study as a health care issue. Named for former U.S. House Rep. Jay Dickey, an Arkansas Republican who backed the measure in 1996, the amendment stripped the CDC of $2.6 million it had been using on its gun violence research and has been a contentious matter ever since.

“Beginning today, New Jersey will have its very own research center to fill the knowledge gap left by the federal government’s inaction and the gun industry’s obstruction,” said Murphy, who has embraced a number of increased restrictions on guns in the state in his term in office and appointed a former Giffords lawyer as his gun control tsar.

Second Amendment groups in support of the Dickey Amendment say the CDC is only barred from gun control advocacy, and in turn point to a federally-funded paper paid for during the Obama administration that found defensive gun use was common, mass shootings were not, and most gun deaths in the country are due to suicide.

The New Jersey center is not the first to tackle the issue. Citing similar concerns over the CDC and the Dickey Amendment, California established its own research center at the University of California to study gun violence as a health care issue in 2016, while lawmakers in New York are moving forward with a similar plan.

Latest Reviews

  • Tuck & Carry: CCW in a Skirt

    Aimed at those who want the comfort and convenience of a skirt but with the protection of a holstered gun, the Tuck & Carry occupies what I term apparel holsters -- that is clothing/holster duos.

    Read More
  • The Marlin Dark in .45-70 is Stealthy and Modern

    Flash forward the lever gun of Western lore to the 2020s, where Marlin has taken that classic design and given it a modern upgrade. Meet the Marlin Dark.

    Read More
  • Gear Review: Sig Sauer Tango 6T 1-6

    Sig Sauer has long been a big name in the firearms industry, so it came as no surprise several years ago when Sig filled out its repertoire with its own optics line. Today, we’re looking at the Tango 6T, a 1-6 low power variable optic.

    Read More
  • First Look: Hornady 6mm ARC

    Hornady brought another impressive project to the shooting public in 2020 with the introduction of the 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge.

    Read More