Democratic Caucus Statement Graphic

On Tuesday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy declared gun violence a public health crisis, citing a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that reveals U.S. gun deaths last year reached their highest level in nearly three decades. The report reveals that firearm injury is now the leading cause of death among children and teens and emphasizes the urgent need to address gun violence as a critical health issue affecting a majority of Americans.

As elected representatives committed to public safety, the Board shares this deep concern. Last year, we held a Health Committee meeting with North Shore Hospital’s Center for Gun Violence to address these critical issues. This year, we initiated and formed, in partnership with the County Executive, a County-wide Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Despite our current efforts, we acknowledge that addressing this important issue requires collaboration at all levels of government.

The Democratic Caucus of the Westchester County Board of Legislators opposes illegally-modified firearms, as well as illegal firearm purchase, trade, and use. We advocate for a public health approach to prevent injuries, deaths, and psychological harm related to firearms.

In solidarity with Dr. Murthy's call to action, we urge both federal and state lawmakers to take decisive steps to not only crack down on illegal gun use and enforce existing gun laws such as universal background checks for gun purchases, but to also strengthen industry regulations. This includes banning automatic rifles and bump stocks, enacting laws to restrict firearm use in public spaces, and imposing penalties for inadequate weapon storage. We wholeheartedly support using research and public health resources to address this pressing crisis and protect our communities.