Public/Global Health

Walensky says ‘now is the time’ to tackle gun violence: report

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky in an exclusive interview with CNN addressed gun violence in America, calling it “a serious public health threat.”

“Something has to be done about this,” Walensky said. “Now is the time — it’s pedal to the metal time.”

Walensky was outlining how she plans to have her agency address gun violence, which has become an increasing concern.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, 611 people died in 2020 as a result of mass shootings. The group defines mass shootings at four or more people shot or killed in a single incident, not including the shooter.

President Biden in April signed a series of executive orders in April aimed at addressing gun violence, saying at the time that gun violence in the U.S. was a “national embarrassment.”

This year alone, the nation has been rocked by several high profile mass shootings: one at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., in March that killed at least 10 people; shootings at three Atlanta-area spas that left eight dead and was deemed as racially motivated; and a shooting at rail yard in San Jose, Calif., that killed eight.

The CDC stopped conducting gun violence research in 1997 after Congress cut off funding due to pressure from the National Rifle Association (NRA), CNN noted. Former President Trump signed a bill in 2018 that allowed the agency to conduct gun violence research.

The news outlet noted that Congress agreed has allocated $25 million to the CDC and National Institutes of Health for gun violence research.

Walensky told CNN that her job is to understand “the scope of the problem” and how to make it better. She further said doesn’t want people to think that she wants to “take away their guns,” even saying that she wants to find common ground with gun owners.

“Let’s agree, we don’t want people to die. Let’s just agree there. What can we do to stop people from dying, and what can we do to stop people from being injured,” Walensky said.

Tags Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Donald Trump gun violence Gun violence in the United States Joe Biden National Rifle Association Rochelle Walensky ROchelle Walensky

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