NNU Statement on Florida School Shooting: ‘Gun Violence is a Significant Public Health Issue’
National Nurses United today joined with millions of other alarmed Americans in calling for meaningful action in response to the school shooting in Parkland, FL, as well as similar shootings across the U.S. this year alone.
“These horrific mass shootings, especially ones occurring in schools and other public settings, are not only a terrible tragedy for the families involved, but a growing public health emergency,” said NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN.
NNU has long stressed that personal safety is a health issue, and that “as nurses we are dedicated to healing and alleviating human suffering that begins with prevention,” said Ross. “Confronting gun violence must be part of that prevention.”
“In addition to the loss of life and injury, there are also long term consequences that can erode the mental and physical health of affected family members for years,” said Ross.
Emphasizing proper mental health funding, especially at a time of major cutbacks in mental health services, is vital, Ross noted, “but just strengthening mental health services alone is not enough.”
It is estimated there are some 44 million adults in the U.S. with mental health care needs and nearly 10 million with serious mental health disabilities. “Most of them are non-violent. We should guarantee they all receive adequate and humane care, but that alone will not stop gun violence,” Ross emphasized.
NNU, said Ross, supports “common sense measures to address gun violence.”
Just last year, NNU’s California affiliate, the California Nurses Association, endorsed a successful ballot measure sponsored by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, to outlaw possession of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, background checks for bullet purchases, and other steps.
Following another mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA in 2015, Malinda Markowitz, RN, an NNU vice president, noted that assault was “that it is long past time to take strong action to reduce the unconscionable gun violence that continues to plague our nation. All of us should re-dedicate ourselves to fighting this scourge of gun violence with comprehensive solutions once and for all.”