• Press Release

March For Our Lives Applauds Surgeon General’s Gun Violence Public Health Crisis Declaration

March For Our Lives has said for years that gun violence is a kids’ issue and we’re glad that the Surgeon General agrees and is prioritizing our lives

Washington, DC — Today, driven by overwhelming data and tenacious activism by young people and survivors to foreground the gun violence epidemic, the United States Surgeon General declared Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis. This is something March For Our Lives has been calling on the Biden Administration to do for many years, and we’re enthused to see this important step forward. 

Importantly, the report highlights that this crisis falls most heavily on young people, for whom guns have been the leading cause of death since 2020. “This is a transformative declaration, and just like the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, will mark a momentous shift in how we address the gun violence epidemic going forward,” said Zeenat Yahya, Director of Policy for March For Our Lives. “The federal government has acknowledged what far too many already know in America: Gun violence is a crisis that looms large and is one of the foremost health crises in the country today. It’s particularly worth noting the report’s extensive emphases on the collective toll of gun violence exposure and its cascading effects, from those immediately impacted, to reverberating trauma after such violence. As the Surgeon General said, it’s ‘a kids’ issue’. We hope that this extremely detailed advisory will galvanize other agencies and state and local governments to take urgent action, and be a harbinger for our nation’s approach to gun violence prevention going forward.” 

For many years now, March For Our Lives alongside our allies in the movement—and particularly standing on the shoulders of our Black and brown elders in the movement—have urged our leaders to take an evidence-based public health approach to the gun violence epidemic that tackles the root causes of that violence. We know that the decision to pick up a gun, whether to harm someone else or to harm oneself, only occurs after a cascading series of policy failures. A public health approach seeks to address those policy failures with solutions that prevent harm long before it takes place, and it does so with the urgency that the crisis deserves. This declaration by the Surgeon General is a critical step forward in naming the gun violence epidemic for what it is—an urgent public health crisis—and will go a long way towards moving federal, state, and local governments to tackle the crisis with the same urgency that we tackled the tobacco epidemic.