Mayor Rhodes-Conway: Gun violence declared a public health emergency in America

This week, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a landmark Surgeon General’s Advisory on Firearm Violence, declaring firearm violence in America a public health crisis. The advisory details the impact of gun violence beyond death and injury, including harm for youth, families, and communities. The impact felt right here in Madison is underscored in the recent incidents in our city, as well as the Gun Violence snapshot released by Public Health Madison & Dane County. 

“Gun violence impacts all of us. Too many Madisonians have been, or know people who have been, victims of gun violence, and our community suffers as a result. To make meaningful and long-lasting change, we cannot just react to violence when it happens. We must continue investing in gun violence prevention and working to reduce the number of illegal guns in our community,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.  

In 2023, Public Health released the position statement Gun Safety: Prevention of Gun Violence. It details strategies for reducing gun harm and increasing gun safety including the following recommendations:

  • Requiring universal background checks
  • Implementing gun storage laws
  • Implementing Extreme Risk Protection Order laws or red flag laws
  • Raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm
  • Banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
  • Instituting waiting periods

“These policies are crucial to violence prevention efforts by making firearms harder to access by those individuals who seek to do harm,” said Rhodes-Conway. 

Madison Common Council President Yannette Figueroa Cole said we need to address all levels of prevention.

“While we advocate for State lawmakers to do their job, there are steps we can take to prevent gun violence before law enforcement is involved,” said Figueroa Cole. “The Violence Prevention Unit is working with community partners to identify and address the root causes of violence.”

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