At a hearing Tuesday for five of President Trump’s nominees at the Department of Health and Human Services, a long contentious issue briefly flared: the public health threat posed by gun violence.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) asked Dr. Jerome Adams, Trump’s nominee for surgeon general, what the surgeon general can do to stem gun violence. It was a notable moment because Dr. Vivek Murthy, the former surgeon general, saw his confirmation delayed for a year because of his support for gun-control laws.

In response, Adams, the Indiana health commissioner, sought to separate gun violence from guns themselves.


“Guns and gun owners aren’t inherently a public health problem, but the violence that results absolutely is,” he said, likening the difference to car crashes being a public health issue, even if cars themselves are not.

Adams, who said he is a gun owner, also noted that he regularly helps treat gunshot victims at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis and raised the issue of suicides caused by guns.

The exchange was short, as Murphy ran out of time for his questions, but Adams’s response did not sit well with the senator. “It’s a little bit deeper than the problem you suggested,” Murphy said, citing evidence of an association between the availability of guns and the likelihood of a crime being committed with a gun.

Still, the hearing overall was mostly cordial, with the nominees and senators discussing how they can address the opioid crisis, a lack of mental health treatment, and emergency preparedness. Democratic senators also used the hearing to get the nominees to push back on some statements from Trump and other administration officials related to vaccines and medication-assisted treatment that were not based on evidence.

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  • If the number of guns in circulation were the problem, we here in the U.S. would all be dead by now.
    The number of guns in the hands of the people are estimated to be from 300 to 600 million, with a large part of that increase in the last 20 years.
    In the last 25 years, not just the murder rate, but the total crime rate has fallen to levels not seen since the late ’50s early ’60s.
    The murder and crime rates are from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics Report. Anyone who cares can look them up online.
    So, while correlation is not causation, we can say with certainty that more guns does NOT equal more crime, especially violent crime.

    SO, maybe it’s not guns. Maybe it the hands holding the guns.

    The majority of murders and other crimes are committed by the street gangs running the drug trade in most major metro areas, not your average American…But that doesn’t fit the progressive liberal narrative.

  • Guns are not the problem its liberals giving criminals a slap on the rist ,and a get out of jail free card.That’s not my American.

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