Nashville Mayor John Cooper declared gun violence a public health crisis, following a resolution from Metro Nashville City Council.
Cooper approved the resolution on Wednesday. The resolution recommended that the city execute further research on the physical and mental health impacts of un violence.
The resolution was announced earlier this month, several days after Mother’s Day. All council members except Zach Young, Kevin Rhoten, Mary Carolyn Roberts, Tanaka Vercher, Delishia Porterfield, Steve Glover were listed as sponsors on the bill.
The resolution claimed that the amount of deaths caused by gun violence signaled a health crisis. It cited President Joe Biden’s assessment of gun violence as “an epidemic.” In part, the Biden Administration promised to have the Justice Department issue a proposed rule to stop the creation of “ghost guns,” which are homemade firearms that lack serial numbers. They also promised that the Justice Department would publish model “red flag” legislation.
Legislators have pushed for other issues to be considered public health crises.
After the American Medical Association (AMA) declared in November that racism was a “public health crisis,” many state legislators attempted to model the AMA announcement within their own resolutions.
In 2018, the AMA said that gun ownership was a “disease” and passed some gun-related resolutions. They’ve consistently called for the ban on the sale and ownership of all assault-style weapons.
A Tennessee state legislator attempted to mirror the AMA resolution. State Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) pushed for the state to recognize that racism presents a public health emergency.
The legislature deferred Parkinson’s resolution to summer study.
2020 marked one of the most violent years in Nashville. There were 109 people murdered, about as many as in 2017. Gun-related violent crimes rose to 25 percent; aggravated assaults with a firearm rose up to 40 percent.
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