U.S. Surgeon General declares gun violence a public health crisis | Gun Violence News

The Surgeon General said the gun violence epidemic is causing “unimaginable suffering” to victims across the country.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has declared gun violence a public health crisis in the United States.

In his recommendations issued Tuesday, Murthy called for tougher laws to limit the widespread availability of guns, which many say is the cause of the country’s unprecedented rise in gun violence.

“Gun violence is an urgent public health crisis that has taken the lives of too many Americans and caused unimaginable pain and heartbreak,” Mursi said in a statement.

While high-profile mass shootings get most of the attention, everyday gun violence is a persistent threat and has led to a tragic upward trend in gun injuries and deaths, with young people and communities of color being particularly affected, Murthy noted Tuesday.

With efforts to enact gun control laws at the federal level stalled and many conservative politicians staunchly opposed to efforts to further restrict access to firearms, it is unclear what change, if any, the declaration will bring.

Many Republican-led states are moving to further roll back existing restrictions.The National Rifle Association, a powerful political group that has fought to further loosen restrictions on firearms, called the recommendations “an extension of the Biden administration’s war on law-abiding gun owners.”

Murthy said the impact of gun violence goes beyond the roughly 50,000 people killed annually in the United States, and also has lasting effects on those who witness or survive shootings, or who are injured or lose loved ones.

“America should be a place where everyone can go to school, work, the supermarket or church without fear that their life is at risk,” he told The Associated Press, calling for measures such as stronger background checks, restrictions on guns in public places and a ban on high-powered assault rifles.

The report notes that gun violence was the leading cause of death among children and young people in the United States in 2020, with the number of firearm-related deaths, including homicides, accidental deaths and suicides, on the rise.

These rates of gun violence are outliers among relatively wealthy countries: The U.S. youth gun death rate is 11 times that of France, 36 times that of Germany, and 121 times that of Japan, where gun access is tightly regulated, the report said.

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