Gun violence in New Mexico is an pressing public well being disaster that cries out for a complete public well being technique. It fills our hospital beds, destroys our communities and traumatizes our residents. We’re asking Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to message laws for an Workplace of Gun Violence Prevention in the course of the 2022 session.
The numbers are staggering. New Mexico has the fourth-highest price of gun violence within the nation. On common, we lose one individual every single day and two kids every month. Per capita, extra girls are murdered by males in our state than some other state however one, 40 % by firearm. It’s estimated gun violence prices our state $1.8 billion a 12 months. Each loss of life, each damage, each emotional trauma interprets right into a profound contributor to the challenges all of us dream of fixing in our communities.
A chosen Workplace of Gun Violence Prevention would make it doable for us to actually and figuratively cease the bleeding. It might produce holistic options that analyze and truly remedy the issues we face by using each an fairness and a public well being lens. If carried out accurately, such an workplace would function a clearing home that focuses on the intersection of gun violence with racism, home violence, psychological well being, housing insecurity, drug and alcohol points in addition to poverty. On the similar time, an Workplace of Gun Violence Prevention can be instrumental in effectively implementing the legal guidelines which can be already on the books.
We merely can’t afford to disregard the fact of the gun violence epidemic in our state any longer. Greater than 3 times the variety of individuals die from gun violence in New Mexico every year than from DWI-related accidents (472 to 149 in 2020). Our state works collectively and spends over $20 million yearly to cut back hurt from DWIs. But, we proceed to spend little to eradicate gun violence. An Workplace for Gun Violence Prevention will goal the difficulty a lot additional upstream to handle the issues lengthy earlier than somebody pulls the set off.
Along with all of this, gun violence in New Mexico is a civil rights challenge. Black, Indigenous and folks of colour are disproportionately impacted. Firearm loss of life charges are highest amongst Blacks though they make up solely 3 % of our inhabitants. Hispanics have the third-highest loss of life price and American Indians the fourth highest.
As soon as the set off will get pulled, the aftereffects final for a lifetime. Adults who had been uncovered to gun violence throughout an antagonistic childhood occasion usually tend to undergo from persistent well being circumstances. Younger people who find themselves uncovered to gun violence are at a considerably greater danger of growing post-traumatic stress syndrome, melancholy and substance abuse, in addition to doubtlessly committing gun violence themselves. In line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, gun violence victims can expertise issues with reminiscence, considering, feelings, bodily incapacity from damage to the mind, paralysis from spinal wire damage, lack of high quality of life, untimely loss of life, persistent psychological well being issues and sometimes a lack of financial stability.
This will likely simply be a kind of uncommon moments that the New Mexican political stars can align. Nobody from any aspect of any aisle needs to see our communities proceed to undergo the ailing results of unmitigated gun violence or admit that an annual state price ticket of $1.8 billion a 12 months is in any method acceptable. An Workplace of Gun Violence Prevention gives us with an aisle-bridging alternative to duplicate the cooperation we present in addressing DWI to be able to scale back gun violence in our state so we will make our communities safer.
The Rev. Dr. Harry Eberts and Miranda Viscoli are co-presidents of New Mexicans to Forestall Gun Violence.