The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a spending bill on Thursday. They want to get the bill to President Donald Trump to sign into law before Friday. The goal is to avoid a government shutdown. The spending bill includes gun violence research funding, which is the first time in decades. But this is a divided issue.
They will look at the connection between domestic violence and gun violence, ways of reducing suicides by firearms and better ways of storing them to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands. But some are worried this research will be used politically.
“I think that skepticism, criticism, is always, it’s critical when it comes to stuff like this,” said Aaron Forum, who is an expert in firearms. “You should not take this research, any research, just on its face.”
There is an amendment in place, the Dickey Amendment, which was named after former Congressman Jay Dickey of Arkansas. The amendment prevents your tax dollars from being used to fund research that would promote or advocate gun control. But the wording of the amendment was changed last year.
“Any data that’s favorable to anti-gun people or to pro-gun people,” Forum said, “will be used by those groups.”
Fundamental questions could benefit from the in-depth federal research, such as how legislation might work without infringing on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. People WINK News spoke with, many of whom are gun owners, support the research, especially if it means saving lives in Southwest Florida.
“I definitely think that it’s a good thing,” said Laura Tyler, who lives in Fort Myers. “They’re looking into suicide and actual government-funded research.”
The topic of guns is divided. Others hope this research will lead to better conversations with neighbors.
“If we don’t all have the same information, then it’s all based on emotion,” said Patrick Kasprik, who lives in Germany but is from North Fort Myers. “And I think that’s even worse. Because then we’re just not coming from a place of logic or a place of factual information.”
We reached out to local law enforcement to see if they think this kind of research could help cut down on gun violence in our area. However, they did not want to comment before the president signs it.