Since the pandemic began, the United States has experienced significant spikes in violence, particularly gun violence–homicides and unintentional shootings reached record numbers in 2020, and we have also seen increases in domestic violence and an increase in gun sales, bringing us to the highest rate of gun deaths in the last 20 years.
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, each state and county will be receiving aid from the federal government to invest in communities to help recover from COVID-19, such as extending unemployment benefits, assistance with health insurance, among many other initiatives. However, none of this money has been specifically allocated to help mitigate the effects of increasing gun violence that communities, especially black and brown communities, have been experiencing everyday.
As Doctors for America Gun Violence Prevention advocates, we believe that we must allocate more funds and policies toward addressing the gun violence epidemic in America. We are advocating that leadership in communities across the country allocate a minimum of 6% of their allotted funds to go toward community-based violence prevention, domestic violence prevention, trauma recovery, suicide prevention and youth employment and mentoring programs. Communities most affected by COVID-19 are the same communities that are most affected by gun violence, we cannot fully address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis without also addressing the toll that gun violence has taken on these communities.
Invest in the safety and health of our communities!