|Washington, DC−In an historic rebuke to the NRA, the Senate voted 51-43 this evening to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy as the 19th Surgeon General in U.S. history. The vote was widely watched – and greatly appreciated – by gun violence prevention advocates, including the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
From the outset, controversy surrounded Dr. Murthy’s nomination because the National Rifle Association wanted to stifle Murthy’s public acknowledgement of America’s gun violence problem, as well as his call for necessary reforms. For example, in 2012, Murthy tweeted, “Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue.”
In a February 2014 letter to senators, NRA-ILA Director Chris Cox decried Murthy’s “lengthy history of hostility towards the right to keep and bear arms,” deeming him “a prescription for disaster for America’s gun owners.” The NRA also announced it would be scoring the vote on his nomination.“The mighty NRA let out its loudest roar, and no one cared,” said Coalition to Stop Gun Violence executive director Josh Horwitz. “After a GOP wave election in which champions of gun violence prevention nonetheless did notably well, this vote is further evidence of how much a paper tiger the gun lobby really is.”
While the NRA attacked Murthy, gun violence prevention groups worked assiduously to see him confirmed. In May, CSGV started a petition campaign calling on Senate Democrats to confirm Murthy. 6,500 Americans signed the petition. The Coalition also pushed calls to senators’ offices regularly through Facebook (113,000 Likes) and Twitter (12,000 followers).
“We are ecstatic to see a Top Doc confirmed who ‘gets it’ when it comes to gun violence,” said the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Virginia state director, Lori Haas. “Our nation can no longer afford the NRA’s junk science and idolatry. Lives are at stake, and the mission of our Surgeon General is to provide Americans ‘with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury.’ We now have a qualified confirmee in place who will do exactly that.”
“Our thanks to all the senators – Democrat and Republican – who voted to confirm Dr. Murthy,” said Horwitz. “You will be rewarded for your integrity and decency.”
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy. The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence is CSGV’s 501(c)(3) sister organization. CSGV can be found on Facebook and Twitter.