US declares gun violence a public health crisis


WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has officially declared gun violence a public health crisis in the United States. In an advisory issued on Tuesday, Murthy urged for more stringent laws to curb the widespread availability of firearms, which many attribute to the country’s unprecedented levels of gun violence.

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“Firearm violence is an urgent public health crisis that has led to loss of life, unimaginable pain, and profound grief for far too many Americans,” Murthy stated. He highlighted that while mass shootings often capture media attention, everyday gun violence consistently contributes to rising gun injuries and deaths, disproportionately affecting young people and communities of color.

However, the impact of this declaration on policy remains uncertain, given the federal deadlock on gun control efforts. Many conservative politicians strongly oppose further limitations on firearms, and numerous Republican-led states have moved to roll back existing restrictions. The National Rifle Association (NRA), a powerful political lobby, criticized the advisory as an “extension of the Biden administration’s war on law-abiding gun owners.”

Murthy emphasized that gun violence extends beyond the annual death toll of approximately 50,000 people in the U.S., affecting those who witness or survive shootings and those coping with injuries or the loss of loved ones. He called for measures such as enhanced background checks, restrictions on guns in public spaces, and the banning of high-power automatic rifles.

“America should be a place where all of us can go to school, go to work, go to the supermarket, go to our house of worship, without having to worry that that’s going to put our life at risk,” Murthy told the Associated Press.

The advisory noted that gun violence became the leading cause of death among U.S. children and youth in 2020. Firearms-related deaths, including murders, accidental deaths, and suicides, have continued to increase. Compared to other wealthy nations, the U.S. stands out for its high rates of gun violence. The country’s firearm mortality rate for young people is 11 times that of France, 36 times that of Germany, and 121 times that of Japan, where gun access is highly regulated.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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