FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2021
Julia Friedmann, West End Strategy Team
Senate Takes a Step Forward to Keep Americans Safe Through Hearing on Legislative Solutions to Gun Violence Prevention
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence calls on federal elected officials to enact policies guided by a public health and equity approach; CSGV submits statement for congressional record
WASHINGTON — As the country experiences the third consecutive year of nearly 40,000 gun deaths, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee for conducting a hearing on gun violence prevention and calls on lawmakers to legislate with a public health and equity approach to reduce gun violence in the United States. Though pre-planned, the hearing comes one week after a man in Atlanta murdered eight people — six of them women of Asian descent — with a gun he had purchased the same day, and a shooter murdered 10 people at a Boulder supermarket just yesterday.
CSGV Executive Director Josh Horwitz submitted a statement for the committee record, urging the Senate to implement evidence-based policy solutions with public health and equity approaches to end the American epidemic of gun violence. Horwitz’s testimony outlines how Congress can improve data collection and study of gun violence, and calls for specific policies including universal background checks, an end to the default proceed sale loophole that allows individuals prohibited from buying a gun to slip through the cracks, passage of the Violence Against Women Act, federal support for implementation of state extreme risk laws, investment in community violence intervention and prevention, expanded lethal means safety counseling to help prevent firearm suicide, justice in policing, and a ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines.
“Gun violence — whether gun homicides, suicides, or nonfatal injuries — is a public health crisis that leaves a path of death and destruction touching millions of Americans’ lives,” said Josh Horwitz, CSGV executive director. “I thank committee chairman Senator Dick Durbin for his leadership on this issue and for calling today’s hearing to explore common sense policies that will prevent gun violence. We need Congress to act and implement solutions, guided by a public health and equity approach, that the American people already wholeheartedly support. We owe it to our communities and to our children to create a safer and more equitable future, and we will continue pushing Congress to pass new legislation to fix our broken firearm laws.”
The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV), an affiliate of CSGV, late last year released a report on how a public health approach — the same method successfully used to reduce smoking deaths and car accident fatalities — can be applied to reducing gun violence in all forms.
Dakota Jablon, CSGV director of federal affairs, added “Despite the bad-faith fear mongering and myths promoted by the gun lobby that gun violence is a consequence of mental illness, gun violence is perpetuated by unfettered gun access. Individuals experiencing mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators. Instead, we need to address the reality of gun violence. Gun violence is a public health crisis, and national leadership is the piece in the violence prevention puzzle that we have been missing for too long. I am grateful to leaders like Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Richard Blumenthal for elevating the policy solutions that respond to this public health crisis in today’s hearing, like federal support for state extreme risk protection laws. The evidence is clear: these policies save lives while respecting our constitutional rights. It’s time to act.”
CSGV and EFSGV last month released a report based on the latest firearm mortality data, which found that firearms were the leading cause of death for American children, teens, and young adults ages one to 24, costing 3,390 young lives in 2019. This marks the second-highest number of annual child and teen gun deaths in 20 years. The report finds that gun violence disproportionately impacts Americans of color, particularly Black Americans, while the vast majority of gun deaths — 60% — are suicides.
CSGV, EFSGV, and the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy played a leading role in developing groundbreaking extreme risk laws discussed during today’s hearing which have been implemented at the state level. In Horwitz’s testimony, he urges Congress to pass legislation supporting state implementation efforts. Extreme risk protection orders allow for the temporary removal of guns when a person poses an immediate threat to themselves or to others. The orders, which are in effect in 19 states and the District of Columbia, are currently being used to save lives by helping to prevent suicides, mass shootings, and other types of interpersonal gun violence.
About the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Founded in 1974, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. We believe gun violence should be rare and abnormal. CSGV develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms.