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Gun violence in the United States is a 'public health crisis,' says Surgeon General

Photo: Ron Bailey Archives Getty Images iStockphoto Since 2020, firearms have been the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States, ahead of road accidents.

Ulysse Bellier – Agence France-Presse and Lucie Aubourg – Agence France-Presse in Washington

Posted at 1:09 p.m. Updated at 1:23 p.m.

  • United States

Gun violence is a “public health crisis,” the U.S. surgeon general said Tuesday, who for the first time released a comprehensive report making the issue a health priority and recommended a series of actions to combat against this scourge.

“Today, for the first time in the history of this office, I am declaring an alert on gun violence,” said declared Vivek Murthy, in a video accompanying the report.

He highlights in particular that firearms have been the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States since 2020. -United, in the face of road accidents.

Appointed by the president, this senior federal official is responsible for prevention on public health issues, even if his powers concrete are very limited.

Such a report should above all make it possible to take the subject out of the purely political domain, and place it on the level of public health, Vivek Murthy said on CNN. He argued that a report published by one of his predecessors on the harmful consequences of tobacco had made it possible to mobilize different actors and triggered a series of measures.

In 2022, 48,204 deaths were gun-related in the country, which includes suicides.

Nearly one in five Americans has a family member who died by firearms, including suicide. More than half of the population has experienced, directly or those close to them, an event involving the use of a weapon.

Firearm violence also affects disproportionately black people, underlines the report.

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“Moral crisis”

“The collective cost of gun violence on the mental health of our nation is huge,” Vivek Murthy wrote on Network X. “The trauma and grief that so many Americans are experiencing from gun-related injuries and deaths has already taken a serious toll. »

“This is a preventable public health crisis” but “our failure to confront it is a moral crisis,” he said. he launched, calling for action with “clarity, courage and urgency”.

Its recommendations include stricter gun storage, widespread background checks for buyers, gun confiscation for dangerous people like abusive spouses, and banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.< /p>

Such measures, long supported by Democratic President Joe Biden, require political agreement in Congress for implementation at the federal level.

Republicans largely oppose these measures under the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which protects the right to carry firearms.

“To my Republican colleagues: come to the table and work with us to pass legislation that helps save lives,” responded influential Democratic Senator Dick Durbin on Tuesday.

The influential gun lobby, the NRA, for its part, quickly denounced the report as “an extension of the Biden administration’s war against law-abiding gun owners.” “America has a crime problem caused by criminals,” added the organization's executive director, Randy Kozuch.

The country has more guns individuals than inhabitants: one in three adults owns at least one weapon and almost one in two adults lives in a home where a weapon is located.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116