Accessibility links

Breaking News
USA

US Surgeon General declares firearm violence a 'public health crisis'


FILE - Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaks during a panel discussion in New York City, Oct. 10, 2023. On June 25, 2024, Murthy, the nation's top doctor, declared gun violence a public health crisis, driven by a growing number of injuries and deaths involving firearms in the U.S.
FILE - Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaks during a panel discussion in New York City, Oct. 10, 2023. On June 25, 2024, Murthy, the nation's top doctor, declared gun violence a public health crisis, driven by a growing number of injuries and deaths involving firearms in the U.S.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy declared gun violence a public health crisis on Tuesday, calling for greater gun control, including the banning of assault rifles.

Murthy issued the first Surgeon General’s Advisory on Firearm Violence to address his concerns.

The advisory highlights strategies to reduce firearm deaths, such as implementing universal background checks for gun buyers, prohibiting assault weapons for civilian use, and requiring safe firearms storage.

The document says firearm violence is the leading cause of death among 1 to 19-year-olds in the U.S.

“The increasing number of children and adolescents dying from firearm related injuries and the reverberating mental health impacts on society make firearm violence an urgent public health crisis in America,” the advisory reads.

The advisory says that 48,204 people in the U.S. died from firearm-related injuries in 2022, which includes suicide, homicide and unintentional deaths.

Rates of firearm violence in the U.S. are high compared to that of other countries.

“Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) found that, in 2015, the overall firearm related death rate was 11.4 times higher in the U.S. compared to 28 other high income nations,” the report reads.

A surgeon general’s advisory is meant to raise awareness on public health issues. This is the first time a U.S. surgeon general has issued an advisory on firearms.

Murthy, who was nominated by U.S. President Joe Biden, described firearm violence as an “urgent threat” and said that “the problem has continued to grow,” in his statement announcing the firearm advisory.

The Biden administration supports greater controls on gun ownership, citing the frequent mass shootings at schools and other public places.

But it faces stiff opposition from gun rights advocates, who say the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment allows them to own a wide variety of firearms.

Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse.

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.

XS
SM
MD
LG