Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association

Treat Gun Violence Like the Public Health Crisis it is

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This op-ed was featured in Commonwealth on June 10, 2022.

By Steve Walsh
President & CEO, Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association

Gun violence is a public health crisis. That’s what we continue to hear from healthcare leaders across Massachusetts and the nation.

It may seem odd at first blush to use that designation for the mass shootings that have gripped our nation, especially as we are still living in the reality of a years-long pandemic. But what else could possibly describe a phenomenon that happens every day, claims thousands of lives each year, and weighs on the mental health of every American?

So, yes, gun violence is a public health crisis, and it is time we started treating it like one. Those in the healthcare community know that we can move the needle on this issue because our nation just moved mountains to tackle an emergency that was far less in our control.

Everyone stepped up when COVID-19 struck. Elected officials. Community Leaders. Neighbors who may not see eye-to-eye otherwise. Their collective actions, based on the undeniable evidence of danger in front of them, saved lives.

Imagine if we used that same energy, political will, and common sense to protect our communities against a crisis of our own creation?