FGCU professor agrees with US Surgeon General: gun violence is a public health crisis

Reporter: Annalise Iraola Writer: Elyssa Morataya
Published: Updated:

Gun violence: we’ve seen it here firsthand in Southwest Florida.

Many agree gun violence is a growing problem, and recently, the U.S. Surgeon General has called it a crisis. Experts in Florida are backing up that claim.

Professor Hugh Clark, chair of the social work department at Florida Gulf Coast University, said the new declaration is reasonable.

“We hear the reports of how the U.S. has more firearm deaths than any other industrialized country. And so it’s time for us to really recognize this as a major problem for our country,” said Clark.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Surgeon General cited a poll that says 54% of Americans say they or a family member experienced a gun-related incident.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis in our country that requires a public health solution,” said Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. surgeon general.

Gun violence is taking a toll on the nation’s mental health, according to the Surgeon General.

Almost 80% of adults say they stress about the possibility of a mass shooting, and half of the country’s children are worried about a shooting in their school.

The good news is there are solutions in the works.

“There’s a lot we can do. There are, for example, community violence intervention programs that we can invest in, there are safe storage education programs that we can expand, there are firearm risk reduction strategies like background checks,” said Murthy.

“The approach of a public health emergency really tries to get it understanding the problem, and then moving towards solutions for the problem. And that’s what we need to be doing,” said Clark.

The National Rifle Association released a statement in response, calling the surgeon general’s declaration “An extension of the Biden administration’s war on law-abiding gun owners.”

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