Washington, D.C. – The National Health Law Program mourns the 31 people killed and many others wounded in two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. The massacre of Latinx people in El Paso, in particular, demonstrates the deadly consequences of unchecked white supremacy, anti-immigrant rhetoric, and unrestricted access to firearms. The growing threat of domestic terror attacks carried out by violent white supremacists adds to the trauma experienced by communities of color.
As advocates for the health rights of low-income individuals and families, we know that endemic violence, racism, and discrimination lead to poor health outcomes, and that blaming gun violence on mental health is not only inappropriate, but negatively impacts people with mental health diagnoses. We condemn white supremacy, xenophobia, and racism, and call on politicians and institutions to also condemn, in no uncertain words, the deep immorality of such creeds. On today’s anniversary of a hate-motivated attack at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we also redouble our calls for leaders in this nation to take seriously the scourge of gun violence that plagues communities across the country. We will continue, in every way we can, to fight policies that normalize and promote racism and resist the politics that allow inaction on gun control.