In a party-line vote, House Republicans rejected the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) request for millions to be devoted to gun violence research.

The measure, introduced by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), would have earmarked $10 million for competitive grants to support gun violence research.

“It’s time that we give the scientists the tools to study the causes of firearm injury, in hopes that more Americans can be spared from violent suicide and firearm-related accidents,” declared Lowey.

The appropriations committee however rejected the measure, fearing that its inclusion would potentially politicize the 2019 spending bill by advocating gun control. Republicans also claimed the amendment is unnecessary as there is no current legislation prohibiting the such research according to Politico.

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“They’re free to research anything they care to research,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).

But Democrats beg to differ, citing the 1996 Dickey Amendment, which states, “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” The amendment was passed after Congress removed $2.6 million, the amount the CDC spent on gun research the year prior, from the agency’s budget.

While Democrats have long advocated for the bill’s repeal, the NRA has firmly stood by it, arguing the bill only restricts advocacy, not actual research. David Hemenway, professor of health policy and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, called the lack of support “very sad,” noting that “the federal government is hardly studying the problem.”

Rather, such gun related studies “have usually been funded by private foundations or are done by academic researchers who, in essence, donate their time and use data that are readily available,” said Daniel Webster, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

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