AUSTIN (KXAN) — After 20 years, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control will get paid to look into gun violence.
It slipped into the massive federal budget by House and Senate leaders. It still needs President Trump’s signature before it becomes a reality.
However, Texas Senator Ted Cruz had some strong words for it in a video he posted online.
In a tongue-in-cheek video posted by the Senate Twitter account for Ted Cruz, he lights up a cigar and draws attention to items agreed to in the funding deal that he doesn’t support. It includes $25 million to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health to study the effect of guns in America.
“Mind you, last I checked, exercising your Second Amendment rights is not a virus that the Center for Disease Control should be studying,” said Cruz.
This is long-awaited money for gun safety advocates like Ed Scruggs with Texas Gun Sense. He’d like to see a study focus on the 2/3rds of gun deaths that are suicides.
“Some private foundations will fund studies but they just don’t have the reach of the CDC or the NIH would have. They can’t go to as many locations and as many hospitals and involve as many professionals and academics as the CDC would,” said Scruggs.
This is the largest change since the 1996 Dickey Amendment, which still bans the CDC from advocating for gun control — something gun rights activists still worry about. Owner of Central Texas Gun Works Michael Cargill says the FBI already studies the issue and more from the CDC would waste tax dollars.
“It all depends on who’s putting that information together and how they want to push that to their benefit. When you get into stacks it’s all, who’s trying to twist it around,” said Cargill.
“This pile of trash belongs in an ashtray,” Cruz ends, pounding his cigar into the budget bill.
Despite the Cruz video, the budget is expected to pass.
Many say a preview to this was last year when Congress clarified the language of the Dickey Amendment, it made clear that the CDC can research gun violence as long as they don’t advocate for more restrictions on gun use or sales.
Cruz makes a point in the video that this budget bill has a lot in it that wasn’t voted on. One of his examples, raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21. He says there was no debate or vote on it, saying it was “just a deal in a smoke-filled room.”
Another example, he said: the bill continues tax breaks for renewable energy. Cruz says all of the corporate subsidies will continue and there was no vote.