Jul 19, 2022 - News

Franklin County: Gun violence is a public health crisis

Members of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children speak at an anti-violence rally.
Malissa Thomas-St. Clair, a member of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children, speaks against gun violence at Bicentennial Park last year. Photo: Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Franklin County is declaring gun violence a public health crisis today amid a rise in shooting deaths over the past decade.

Details: The resolution taken up by county commissioners this morning resembles one enacted by Columbus earlier in the year. It mobilizes the county health department to work toward reducing local gun violence.

  • The resolution cites the more than 45,000 U.S. gun deaths in 2020 — a new annual record.

Zoom in: Franklin County recorded 1,066 gun deaths and 2,541 injuries between 2017 and 2021, increasing to a rate of 20.6 deaths per 100,000 residents, from 16.1.

  • The Black community is disproportionately impacted, with more than four times the mortality rate of white residents.

The big picture: The resolution notes other potential factors driving the shooting uptick, from poverty to the lack of mental health services and poor gun safety policies.

  • "Gun violence destroys lives, devastates families, and cripples communities," the resolution reads.
  • "It is incumbent upon all elected policymakers to develop workable policies and protections which balance one's right to own a firearm with another's inherent and inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
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