Lawmakers fund pioneering gun violence research center (Waldron opposes)

California funding first public research center on gun violence in the United States.

California lawmakers have agreed to spend $5 million to open a first-in-the-nation gun violence research center, a move intended to circumvent a ban on federal firearm studies.

The research center, which would be based at a campus in the University of California system, would take over a job the federal government dropped 20 years ago. In 1996, Congress — persuaded by then-U.S Rep. Jay Dickey, an Arkansas Republican and self-proclaimed point man for the NRA on Capitol Hill — cut off funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that could be used to “advocate or promote” gun control.

As FairWarning has reported, that federal research ban has remained intact despite repeated efforts to overturn it, preventing experts from answering vital questions about how to prevent gun deaths and injuries. That knowledge gap, in turn, has thwarted efforts to craft laws to reduce gun violence.

California State Sen. Lois Wolk

California State Sen. Lois Wolk

In February, California State Sen. Lois Wolk responded by introducing a bill to set up a firearm research center at one of the 10 UC campuses. The Democratic lawmaker – who represents Davis, a city that is home to a UC campus — in a news release said, “We know that using real data and scientific methods, our best researchers can help policy makers get past the politics and find real answers to this public health crisis to help save lives in California and throughout the country.”

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in the same news release, praised the measure and cited last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. “In light of the terrible shooting in Orlando—the worst mass shooting in U.S. history—it is more important than ever that we enact sensible gun safety reforms. One such reform is the creation of the Firearm Violence Research Center, which will fill the void created by the lack of federal gun research.”

In addition, Dickey, who had a change of heart in the years after his amendment cut off federal gun research, also expressed support. Dickey, in a joint statement with his one-time foe, Mark Rosenberg, who in the 1990s was the director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said: “It is crazy for any state to expect its legislators to vote on gun violence legislation if they do not know that it will be effective in both protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners and reducing gun violence. California is setting a very good example by supporting the research that will empower their legislators to protect both its citizens and their gun rights.”

The measure to fund the gun violence research center was part of legislation implementing a new state spending plan approved Wednesday by California lawmakers. It allocates the $5 million for the research center over five years. The office of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has to sign the annual state budget, had no immediate comment on the research center, but he is expected to approve it.

Firearm violence accounts for more than 30,000 deaths a year in the U.S.

This article was furnished by FairWarning, a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) investigative news organization that focuses on public health, safety and environmental issues and related topics of government and business accountability. By agreement as a LION member, The Grapevine is allowed to reprint the group’s material. Paul Feldman and Stuart Silverstein authored the report. For more, visit

(Editor’s Note: Wonder how Escondido’s Marie Waldron voted on California gun legislation since 2013. Here it is courtesy of Vote Smart…)

)Marie Waldron

Office:State Assembly (CA) – District 75, Republican
On The Ballot:Running, Republican for State Assembly – District 75

California Key Votes

DateBill No.Bill TitleOutcomeVote
June 30, 2016AB 1135Prohibits Firearms with Bullet ButtonConcurrence Vote Passed – House
(46 – 30)
June 30, 2016AB 1674Limits the Purchase of FirearmsConcurrence Vote Passed – House
(44 – 34)
June 30, 2016AB 1695Prohibits Falsely Reporting the Loss or Theft of a FirearmConcurrence Vote Passed – House
(52 – 25)
June 30, 2016SB 1235Requires Background Checks to Buy AmmunitionBill Passed – House
(46 – 30)
June 30, 2016SB 1446Prohibits the Possession of High-Capacity Gun MagazinesBill Passed – House
(44 – 31)
June 1, 2016AB 2607Authorizes Certain Individuals to Request a Gun Violence Restraining OrderBill Passed – House
(41 – 37)
Sept. 1, 2015SB 707Prohibits Concealed Firearms on School GroundsBill Passed – House
(54 – 24)
Aug. 29, 2014AB 1014Authorizes Gun Violence Restraining OrdersConcurrence Vote Passed – House
(48 – 28)
Aug. 26, 2014SB 199Requires Certain Replica Guns to be Sold in Fluorescent ColorsBill Passed – House
(43 – 34)
May 28, 2014AB 1609Establishes Requirements for Out of State Firearms TransfersBill Passed – House
(49 – 25)
Sept. 11, 2013AB 48Prohibits Large-Capacity Magazines and Large-Capacity Conversion KitsConcurrence Vote Passed – House
(46 – 30)
Sept. 11, 2013SB 396Limits Firearm Magazine CapacityBill Failed – House
(35 – 34)
Sept. 11, 2013SB 755Expands List of Crimes that Disqualify an Individual from Firearm OwnershipBill Passed – House
(45 – 28)
Sept. 10, 2013AB 711Prohibits Lead Ammunition for HuntingConcurrence Vote Passed – House
(44 – 29)
Sept. 10, 2013SB 374Prohibits Semiautomatic Rifles with Detachable MagazinesBill Passed – House
(44 – 31)
May 29, 2013AB 48Prohibits Large Capacity MagazinesBill Passed – House
(46 – 26)
April 18, 2013SB 140Appropriates Funds to the Armed Prohibited Persons SystemBill Passed – House
(65 – 10)

About the Selection and Description of Key Votes

Vote Smart provides easy access to Congressional and state voting records and maintains a collection of key votes grouped by issue. Vote Smart uses the following criteria to select key votes:

  1. The vote should be helpful in portraying how a member stands on a particular issue
  2. The vote should be clear for any person to understand
  3. The vote has received media attention
  4. The vote was passed or defeated by a very close margin
  5. Occasionally, if a specific bill is consistently inquired about on the Voter’s Research Hotline, the vote will be added

Vote Smart provides a summary of the version of the bill text associated with each selected key vote. The summary does not necessarily reflect the content of the final version of the bill. Summaries are written by Vote Smart’s staff and interns, who adhere to the project’s strict policies and procedures in order to guarantee absolute impartiality and accuracy. Each key vote selection is reviewed by the project’s community of advisors, who are political scientists and journalists from all fifty states.

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