By Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO
“Gun violence is a profound public health crisis in America. The horrific loss of life and injury in Texas and Ohio once again fill us with sadness, anger, and frustration at yet another senseless act of violence. These tragedies have reached epidemic proportions and as with other epidemics, we must act to protect our communities’ public safety and well-being.
“We join with so many others across the nation in offering our sincerest thoughts and prayers for the victims. But we know that is not enough. We know it is far past time for meaningful action to curb gun violence and its causes. In the absence of federal leadership, local officials, including public health leaders, are taking critical steps to address this crisis, including community-based prevention programs and public outreach and education aimed at reducing violence. But we still must do more.
“NACCHO remains committed to providing resources, training, and guidance to our local health department members to help in their response to this ongoing public health crisis. We also call upon lawmakers to take a public health approach to the violence epidemic. That starts with federal research on gun violence prevention, including suicide prevention. It also includes conducting background checks on all gun purchases, preventing individuals most at risk of violence from purchasing guns, banning assault weapons and large ammunition magazines, and engaging in research about how to effectively address violence. Moreover, health officials, government leaders, law enforcement, faith communities, and concerned citizens, including lawful gun owners, must come together to address the social and cultural issues that cause individuals to, far too often, resort to violence, including racism and xenophobia as was reportedly the motive in the El Paso shooting.
“Lastly, even as individuals, we can do our part through safe gun ownership including securing guns in the home, installing trigger locks, and otherwise limiting ready access to guns by keeping them locked in a safe. While we may not be able to stop all gun violence, these are critical, concrete steps to turn the tide. It is far past time for action.“
Click here to read NACCHO’s Firearm-Related Injury and Death Prevention Policy Statement.
Suspicious Activity and Active Shooter Resources
- Active Shooter and Complex Attack Resources
- Resources to promote the “If you see something, say something” campaign
- Training for personnel on recognizing and supporting suspicious activity
- Quick list of indicators
- Suspicious Activity Reporting Healthcare and Public Health Training
- Active Shooter Planning and Response in a Healthcare Setting
- Incorporating Active Shooter Incident Planning into Healthcare Facility EmergencyOperations Plans
- MESH Coalition Active Shooter Training [Video]
- FBI active shooter resources
- ASPR Tracie collections on workplace violence
- ASPR Tracie collections on explosives and mass shooting
- Counter-IED training and awareness resources
- Department of Homeland Security active shooter and complex attack resources list
Risk Communications Resources
- NACCHO policy statement on risk communications capacity
- Challenges and developments in risk communication
- CDC’s crisis and emergency risk communications information
Psychological First Aid and Mental Health Resources
- Self-study program on Psychological First Aid
- Psychological First Aid Field Manual
- How Medical Reserve Corps units are using Psychological First Aid
- Tips for emergency and disaster response workers
- SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.