WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after a 15-year-old student in rural Kentucky opened fire at Marshall County High School, killing two people and wounding more than 16 other students, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement urging Congress to take action to prevent gun violence:

“This is another terrible tragedy.  We are all deeply saddened at the loss of life and our hearts go out to the victims and the entire Marshall County community.  As federal authorities and local law enforcement continue to investigate this incident, we as a nation must come together and do more to prevent gun violence.  Too many families have suffered tragic losses and hardships like this as a result of unnecessary and preventable gun violence,” stated Reed.

“We can’t just throw up our hands and add Marshall County High School to the long list that includes Columbine, Sandy Hook Elementary, Santana High School, Red Lake High School, West Nickel Mines School, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, Oikos University, Santa Monica College, UC Santa Barbara, Marysville Pilchuck High School, North Park Elementary -- the list goes on and on.  There have been over 280 school shootings in America at K-12 schools and colleges since 2013, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.  Congress is failing kids if all it does is encourage schools to do more active shooter drills and lockdowns, but refuses to take any action of its own, even the most basic steps to help reduce gun violence.  We should start today by lifting the partisan gun research ban,” continued Reed.  “There is no excuse for inaction.”

A 1996 rider to an Appropriations law prohibits federal funds from being used to advocate or promote gun control.  The author of the original provision, former Congressman Jay Dickey (R-AR), who passed away in 2017, changed his mind and supported funding U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gun violence research and stated that the rider should not stand in the way of researching the epidemic of gun violence: “I wish we had started the proper research and kept it going all this time,” Mr. Dickey said in an interview with the Huffington Post in 2015. “I have regrets.”

Senator Reed has called on Congress to hold a hearing on funding gun violence research and provide dedicated funding for the CDC to gather data and conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence in the United States.

“The shocking levels of gun violence we continue to see in schools is unacceptable.  Despite what the gun lobby may claim, there are steps Congress can take.  We need bipartisan support to strengthen federal gun safety laws, including those aimed at making current background checks stronger, closing loopholes to prevent unsuitable persons from acquiring firearms, and shutting down the pipeline of illegal guns,” concluded Reed.