Surgeon General Issues First-Ever Warning on Gun Violence

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy
by Brett Rowland


The U.S. Surgeon General on Tuesday declared firearm violence a public health crisis in America.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy’s advisory is the first publication from the Office of the Surgeon General focused on the issue.

“It outlines the urgent threat firearm violence poses to the health an well-being of our country,” he said in a video message released with the advisory. “Unfortunately, the problem has continued to grow.”

The National Rifle Association called the report a political attack on those who own firearms legally.

“This is an extension of the Biden administration’s war on law-abiding gun owners,” NRA Executive Director Randy Kozuch said in a statement. “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.”

The report noted the problem was multifaceted and Murthy said it has affected children and minorities.

“Many of these harms are disproportionately felt in our communities. Black individuals endure the highest rates of firearm homicides, while suicide rates are highest among Veterans, older white individuals, and younger American Indian or Alaska Native people,” Murthy said. “What is especially devastating is how this has affected our children. Firearm violence has become the number one cause of death among children and adolescents, more than car accidents or drug overdoses.”

The 40-page report includes a path forward, Murthy said.

“The Surgeon General’s Advisory lays out the approach we can take to address firearm violence as the public health crisis that it is,” he said. “This includes implementing community violence prevention programs and firearm risk reduction strategies, improving access to mental health care for those exposed to or at risk for firearm violence, and expanding research funding to inform and evaluate our prevention strategies.”

The report noted the problem has grown, driven by both suicides and homicides.

“The rate of firearm‑related deaths in our nation has been rising and reached a near three‑decade high in 2021,” according to the advisory report. “This crisis is being driven, in particular, by increases in firearm‑related homicides over the last decade and firearm‑related suicides over the last two decades. Across all firearm‑related deaths in 2022, more than half (56.1 percent) were from suicide, 40.8 percent were from homicide, and the remaining were from legal intervention, unintentional injuries, and injuries of unknown intent.”

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available by phone (988) and online.


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Brett Rowland is an award-winning journalist who has worked as an editor and reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He is an investigative reporter for The Center Square.
Photo “U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy” by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



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