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U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes last year at UConn Health (ctnewsjunkie file photo)

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes has co-sponsored a bill that would require the U.S. Secretary of Education, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to publish an annual report on “indicators of school crime and safety” that includes data on school shootings.

Introduced September 12, H.R. 4301 is the latest appeal from Democrats to address school crime and gun violence. While full text for the bill has yet to be released, the proposed legislation could be an addition to existing, but limited gun violence research already being conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the CDC’s research is constrained by a 1996 provision known as the Dickey Amendment, which mandated that no federal funds may be appropriated for the advocacy or promotion of gun control.

The amendment was widely interpreted as prohibiting federally funded research into gun violence until Congress passed a spending bill last year that clarified that the CDC can conduct gun violence research as long as such research doesn’t promote gun control. President Donald Trump signed that bill into law in March 2018.

Among Several Gun Control Bills Co-Sponsored by Hayes

Hayes, whose congressional district includes Newtown, where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place in 2012, has been vocal about addressing gun violence in the United States — particularly in schools — since she first set her sights on running for Congress.

Following her election to Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District last year, Hayes has co-sponsored several gun control bills and advocated for rekindling federal research about the causes of gun violence. In June and July of this year, she co-sponsored the End Purchase of Firearms by Dangerous Individuals Act of 2019 (H.R. 3554), which seeks to incentivize “red flag law” efforts at the state level, and the High Speed Gunfire Prevention Act (H.R. 3606), which seeks to “prohibit bump stocks and other devices designed to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic weapon.”

While U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI, is the primary sponsor of H.R. 4301, Hayes and U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., joined as original co-sponsors. The bill has since been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor where it’s expected to be taken up this week.