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Worcester Board of Health Statement: Gun Violence Is a Public Health Crisis

For Immediate Release: 6/22/2022 9:31 am

We, the Board of Health of Worcester, Massachusetts, mourn the deaths of those who were killed in the recent countless mass shootings, including at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York; an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas; and a medical center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Many of these lives were taken as a result of racism and hatred. We stand in solidarity with the communities that have been especially impacted by these and other acts of hatred and senseless violence.

Recent tragedies have highlighted the devastating effects of gun violence, though mass shootings are responsible for only part of gun-related morbidity and mortality that plagues our nation, our cities, and our neighborhoods. Homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries with guns are common. In fact, firearm-related injury is the leading cause of death in children and adolescents in the United States. The lost lives, as well as the profound physical and mental health consequences for survivors, are unfathomable and often preventable.

We, as public health officials, have an obligation and duty to speak out forcefully about this public health crisis. We advocate for sensible national firearm policies including comprehensive criminal background checks for all firearm purchases, mandating waiting periods for gun purchases, enacting extreme risk protection laws, outlawing military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, closing loopholes that allow those prone to commit domestic violence to access firearms, developing child access protection measures, and improving screening and treatment for mental health disorders.

Finally, we strongly endorse the continued efforts of the Worcester Division of Public Health to address gun safety through various initiatives, including the annual “Goods for Guns Buyback”—a collaboration with the Worcester Police Department, the Worcester County District Attorney, and UMass Memorial Health.

Khanh-Van Tran, Gary Rosen, Chareese Allen, Frances Anthes, and Jerry H. Gurwitz

Worcester Board of Health

City of Worcester
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