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Surgeon General Declares Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis

Here at MPGV, we have been advocating for a public health approach to gun violence for years. This approach was the cornerstone of our discussions with administrative officials as we initiated conversations about establishing a state-level Office of Gun Violence Prevention. We are proud to have found like-minded partners in the Moore Administration, leading to the creation of our new Center for Firearm Violence Prevention and Intervention within the Maryland Department of Health.

But what exactly is a “Public Health Approach” to gun violence? People often mistakenly believe it focuses solely on mental health. While mental health strategies can be part of the solution, the public health approach is much broader. In its simplest terms, it involves:

  • Defining and monitoring the problem
  • Identifying risk and protective factors
  • Developing and testing preventive strategies
  • Ensuring widespread adoption of effective strategies

This week, the United States Surgeon General declared gun violence a public health crisis, recommending various preventive strategies akin to past successful campaigns against smoking and traffic accidents. We applaud this move because we know this strategy works.

Our advocacy efforts have shown that treating gun violence as a public health issue allows for comprehensive and effective strategies to be developed and implemented. By focusing on data-driven solutions and community-wide interventions, we can address the root causes of gun violence and work towards a safer future for all Marylanders.