– 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas – 10 Black people in a white supremacist attack at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York – Three children and three teachers in a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee – 18 people in Lewiston, Maine : “Senate Judiciary Committee Discusses Treating Gun Violence as Public Health Crisis”

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, chaired a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, to discuss the treatment of gun violence as a public health crisis. The aim was to build upon the federal gun safety legislation passed last year.

In his opening remarks, Durbin emphasized that gun violence is a public health epidemic across the country. However, Senate Republicans disagreed with framing gun violence as a public health crisis, arguing that it would infringe upon the Second Amendment. They believed the focus should be on mental health.

Durbin stated that the Democratic witnesses, including doctors and public health experts, would help lawmakers determine how to expand the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most comprehensive federal gun safety legislation passed by Congress in almost 30 years.

Passing any additional gun safety legislation will be challenging, as Republicans control the House, and Democrats, although holding a slim majority in the Senate, would still need to meet a 60-vote threshold.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was prompted by two tragic events: the killing of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and a white supremacist attack at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, which resulted in the deaths of 10 Black people. This year alone, there have been several high-profile mass shootings, including incidents in Nashville, Tennessee, where three children and three teachers were killed, and Lewiston, Maine, where 18 people were killed and another 13 were injured.

Durbin stressed the need for Congress to address gun violence due to the unique situation in the United States. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 619 mass shootings this year alone. Furthermore, firearm-related injuries have become the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the country, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

One of the witnesses, Megan L. Ranney from the Yale School of Public Health, emphasized the importance of collecting data on gun violence to treat it as a public health epidemic. By analyzing the data, researchers can identify risks and patterns and develop violence prevention programs. Ranney also highlighted the connection between mental health and gun violence, stating that people with mental health problems are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of violence.

Another witness, Franklin Cosey-Gay from UChicago Medicine, emphasized the critical role of hospital-based violence intervention programs in addressing the gun violence epidemic. These programs involve a multidisciplinary approach and aim to ensure comprehensive recovery and reduce re-injury after discharge.

While Democrats discussed treating gun violence as a public health emergency, several Republicans criticized an executive order from New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, declaring gun violence a public health emergency. Republicans argued that this decision infringed upon the Second Amendment and hindered the development of reasonable policies.

In conclusion, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence aimed to address the issue as a public health crisis and build upon existing federal gun safety legislation. However, the path to passing additional gun safety measures remains challenging due to political divisions.

Leave a Comment