Gun Violence Declared Public Health Crisis, Sparks Conservative Outrage

Gun Rights

U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, declared gun violence a public health crisis in a new advisory issued on Tuesday, sparking conservative outrage on social media.

On Tuesday, Murthy announced gun violence is a public health crisis as he cited a nationally representative survey, stating that gun violence has been the leading cause of death among Americans aged between 1 and 19 since 2020—exceeding vehicle accidents, poisoning (both drug and non-drug-related) and cancer. The report also said that 54 percent of U.S. adults or their family members have experienced a “firearm‑related incident”—including 19 percent who have lost a family member to gun violence.

According to the Surgeon General’s advisory on gun violence—the first of its kind, Murthy is calling for an evidence-based approach to public health change and a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines for civilian use.

“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… To protect the health and well-being of Americans, especially our children, we must now act with the clarity, courage and urgency that this moment demands,” Murthy said in a statement.

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However, since Murthy’s advisory, conservatives have taken to X, formerly Twitter, to share their opposition and take aim at the advisory.

Guns
Guns are seen for sale on a wall at EJB’s Gun Shop in Capitol Heights, Maryland on March 14, 2023. U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, declared gun violence a public health crisis in a…
Guns are seen for sale on a wall at EJB’s Gun Shop in Capitol Heights, Maryland on March 14, 2023. U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, declared gun violence a public health crisis in a new advisory issued on Tuesday, sparking conservative outrage on social media.

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP/Getty Images

The National Rifle Association (NRA) shared a statement on X, taking aim at the Biden administration for not prosecuting criminals, adding that it is a “primary cause” for the country’s crime problem.

“This is an extension of the Biden administration’s war on law-abiding gun owners. America has a crime problem caused by criminals. The reluctance to prosecute and punish criminals on the part of President Biden and many of his allies is the primary cause of that. That’s a simple fact,” NRA Executive Director Randy Kozuch said in a statement on X.

Newsweek has reached out to Murthy’s office and the NRA via email for comment.

X user T. Ford condemned the advisory and the surgeon general for “wading into politics,” writing on X, “Declare as many bogus ‘crises’ as you want. You’re wading into politics, not medicine, fella.None of your declarations trump the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, former Donald Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis also condemned the advisory and called for states to take action against “emergency health powers.”

“This isn’t a ‘public health’ crisis. It’s time for states especially to ensure that no executive official can weaponize their emergency health powers like we saw during Covid to force the government’s political will on the people.”

However, 10 national medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Surgeons, American Public Health Association and the YWCA, issued statements of support in a press release shared by the Office of the Surgeon General.

In addition, Democratic representative Maxwell Frost of Florida praised the advisory writing on X, “This is a big deal. The US Surgeon General has just declared Gun Violence as a Public Health Crisis.It’ll require evidence based solutions to solve this & save lives. From Community Violence Intervention to preventing guns from getting in the wrong hands, we can end this death.”

Pediatric surgeon and vice president of strategic initiatives and director of gun violence at Northwell Health Dr. Chethan Sathya noted how gun violence impacts communities.

“As a pediatric surgeon and advocate for safer communities, I am deeply moved and resolute in supporting this call to action. Gun violence affects us all…Every day, hospitals and emergency rooms witness the devastating impacts of gun-related injuries and fatalities. These tragedies ripple through families, communities, and the very fabric of our society. The Surgeon General’s advisory highlights the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address this epidemic,” Sathya wrote on X.

This comes as at least 8,046 people have been killed by firearms since the start of this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The number of gun violence-related deaths throughout recent years has also prompted calls for Congress to strengthen national gun laws, as gun control remains a tensely divided matter in the United States.

Proponents of gun control say limiting the ability of individuals to buy some weapons, such as assault rifles, would mitigate the number of shootings. Others, however, say stronger gun laws would impede the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Gun safety laws often stir up intense political arguments with conservatives often pointing to the Second Amendment as a main argument while those in favor of tighter gun control disagree arguing the death toll amid mass shootings.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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