Durbin Statement On Surgeon General Advisory Highlighting Firearm Violence As Urgent Public Health Issue

As the Surgeon General’s statement coincides with the two-year anniversary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act being signed into law, Durbin urges Republicans to come to the table and work on additional gun safety legislation

CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today issued the following statement on a new U.S. Surgeon General Advisory calling the American people’s attention to firearm violence as an urgent public health issue that demands response:

“The Surgeon General’s advisory sounds the alarm on gun violence, a uniquely American crisis. I’ve worked with doctors treating gunshot victims, spoken with survivors about the physical and emotional scars from gun violence, and heard the everlasting pain from parents who lost their child to senseless bloodshed. It’s evident that this is a preventable crisis – plain and simple.

“While we’re recognizing the two-year anniversary of the historic investments and reforms in our bipartisan gun law, the American people are demanding more—especially as guns are now the leading cause of death among children. To my Republican colleagues: Come to the table and work with us to pass additional legislation to help save lives.”

The advisory, issued by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, outlines the devastating and far-reaching consequences of firearm violence on the health and well-being of the country, specifically noting that more than half of U.S. adults report that they or a family member have experienced a firearm-related incident. Durbin held a full committee hearing on this topic last fall, featuring testimony on specific public health initiatives that have recently shown promise in reducing gun violence like his Chicago HEAL Initiative.

Today’s advisory also coincides with the two-year anniversary of President Biden signing into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), the most significant gun violence prevention reform in nearly three decades. Durbin was a strong supporter of BSCA, which cracks down on straw purchasing, expands background checks for buyers under 21 years of age, takes steps to close the “boyfriend loophole,” supports state red flag laws, and offers billions in funding for counseling, mental health, and trauma support for victims of gun violence.

While the bipartisan legislation was a starting point for gun reform, Durbin is a staunch advocate for the Assault Weapons Ban and additional gun safety measures. Since BSCA was signed into law, Durbin held a full committee hearing on public safety and gun safety laws in a post-Bruen America; filed an amicus brief in opposition to legal challenges in U.S. v. Rahimi, in which the Supreme Court ultimately ruled to uphold a ban on firearm possession for domestic violence offenders; condemned the Supreme Court decision in Garland v. Cargill, which ruled a bump stock does not convert a rifle into a machine gun; and introduced legislation to curb firearms trafficking enabled by weak American gun laws, among other efforts.