Local health care systems declare gun violence a ‘health crisis’

The gun control debate continues on Capitol Hill with painful testimony from mass shooting victims and their families in the wake of the tragedy in Uvalde.

Currently lawmakers are working to strike a bipartisan agreement on gun safety measures in the aftermath of the back-to-back mass shootings that also included a racially motivated attack that killed 10 black people at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store.

Meanwhile in Minnesota – Hennepin Health, Allina, HealthPartners, CentraCare and Fairview health care systems are addressing gun violence, now calling it a "public health crisis."

It’s not unheard of for the state’s largest healthcare systems to band together behind a single issue or threat, as it happened during the height of the COVID pandemic. But now health leaders insist enough is enough as mass shooting survivors and victim’s families demand action.

"As healers, whose job it is, whose business it is to create an environment where we're saving lives – it felt like we could no longer stay silent," Jennifer Decubellis, Hennepin Healthcare CEO, told FOX 9.

The biggest names in the state’s health care industry are pledging to collaborate and find solutions to prevent gun violence and help keep communities safe after several recent attacks on medical facilities and providers, including last year’s assault on the Allina Health Crossroads Clinic in Buffalo, Minnesota.

"If we can stop it in the community, then everybody's sense of safety and well-being improves," said Decubellis.

According to Decubellis, Minneapolis' HCMC Level One Trauma Center has seen upwards of a 50% increase in "penetrating injuries" in the past two years – not just gunshot wounds, but certainly a snapshot of an alarming trend.