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  • Writer's pictureKaren Young

Impossible to inevitable:   Public opinion turning against gun violence

 Welcome to Winning Wednesday!


For so long, the battle over guns and gun violence seemed intractable.   But as the bodies pile up, it seems like public opinion is finally turning against the gun lobby and over-zealous Second Amendment defenders.   Not one, but TWO victories in the last week show it.

The BBC had the first story last Friday: “People placed under restraining orders for suspected domestic violence do not have a right to own guns, the Supreme Court has ruled.  The 8-1 decision [that would be Clarence Thomas dissenting, naturally] upholds a 30-year-old law that bars those with restraining orders for domestic abuse from owning firearms. [Guess no women took him out on a yacht or bought him a $250K RV.]

A lower court had struck down that federal statute as not "consistent with the nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation.”  Friday's ruling marks a rare victory for firearms restrictions in the top court.”  Best of all, Chief Justice John Roberts declared the ruling “common sense.” 

According to the NIH, nearly half of female homicide victims in the US were killed by domestic partners.  Most had been abused by the partner previously.

Victory # 2

Then, yesterday, the US surgeon general declared gun violence a public health crisis, driven by the fast-growing number of injuries and deaths involving firearms in the country.

A public health approach could help, Dr Murthy argues, as it did with changes to seatbelt safety in vehicles and warnings about health impacts of smoking cigarettes. He hopes to remove politics from an issue that has bitterly divided lawmakers and instead have Americans look at the impacts and the data.  He wants to “legitimize” this kind of discussion around guns.

Murthy said there is “broad agreement” that gun violence is a problem. 


The GOP electeds in Congress, of course, beg to differ.  The AP noted that “most of them opposed Murthy’s confirmation — twice — to the job over his statements on gun violence.”  Frenzied comments on Murthy’s Twitter also objected.  But states have started to pass laws on gun violence. 


Murthy quoted a survey with some astonishing data points, like:


-       54% of adults reported that either they, or a family member, have experienced a firearm-related incident.

-       21% have been threatened with a firearm.

-       17% have witnessed someone being shot.


Even more important is what the BBC notes: “Since 2020, guns have been the leading cause of death for children and younger Americans.  And the death rate from guns is 11.4 times higher in the US, compared to 28 other high-income countries, making the issue a uniquely American problem.”


Congratulations to all the grassroots groups, like March for our Lives, Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety, as well as key officials like Chris Murphy, who have worked so hard at every level to move this critical issue.

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