Flanked by a doctor, a community activist, and New Haven police chief Anthony Campbell, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D) called gun violence in the country a “public health emergency.”

She was at the New Haven police department pushing for more research on the issue.

“When I was 13-years-old, I myself was a target of gun violence,” said Project Longevity’s Brent Peterkin.  “We use intervention and outreach methods to try and intercede and reduce gun violence.”

Peterkin met with Clinton Howell’s family after the 12-year-old boy was shot and killed outside of his Bridgeport home in December. The bullet was not intended for him.

“It’s real in terms of how that family is hurting, the mother has had to take off time from work,” said Peterkin.

DeLauro says they should research gun-related deaths just like they do car crashes and other diseases.

“Hernia, peptic ulcer, anemia, viral hepatitis, asphixia, Parkinsons disease have a lower mortality rate, but receives significantly more funding,” said DeLauro. 

Since 1996, funding has be stunted to the CDC to research gun violence. DeLauro says that needs to change. 

Some republicans say this push by democrats is just political posturing. They argue the research could be biased and could lead to hurting Second Amendment rights.

“This is about research, I go back to that and we research every other public health emergency in the nation,” said DeLauro. 

Peterkin said, “In my mind it’s a no brainer we’re talking about saving lives. No matter what side of the aisle you sit on this is about saving American lives and keeping our communities safe.”

DeLauro didn’t say specifically how much she would like to see the CDC receive, but some advocate groups have thrown around a $50 mil. figure.