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Steve Kerr: America needs to make gun violence ‘a public health issue’


OAKLAND–One day after 26 people were killed inside of First Baptist Church in the small Texas town of Sutherland Springs, Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr responded to the mass shooting by offering condolences and a plea to the United States government to step in and take action.

Kerr is one of basketball’s most outspoken leaders when it comes to social issues, and his life has personally been touched by gun violence as his father Malcolm Kerr was killed by a gunman in Beirut, Lebanon in 1984. Prior to the Warriors’ Monday evening contest against the Miami Heat, Kerr took time to draw attention to the way mass shootings are viewed in the United States, and to call for change.

“First I just want to express my condolences to the people involved, the victims, the survivors, the people directly affected, it’s just awful. That’s prevailing sentiment I think from all of us today and you know, to solve it, I think we almost have to look at it as a public health issue. I think too often we get caught up in political rhetoric, second amendment rights, NRA stuff. We have to look at this as it having nothing to do with partisanship or political parties. It’s got to be a public safety issue, a public health issue.”

On Monday morning, Kerr retweeted several tweets about the Sutherland Springs shooting including a quote from Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and a tweet from actress Alyssa Milano highlighting a bill signed by President Donald Trump that revoked gun checks from people dealing with mental illnesses. Kerr also tweeted a New York Times article from author Nicholas Kristof that argued the gun industry should be treated like the automobile industry.

Kerr explained the basis of the article on Monday night, and called on legislators to lead the way in reducing gun violence.

“I read a great article today comparing this to the auto industry,” Kerr said. “Apparently, in the 1950s, about nine or 10 times more people died in auto wrecks than die right now. So what changed over 70 years? Safety measures. Speed limits. Auto regulations. Seat belts. Driver licenses. Registration. Making sure people deserve to drive. All of these things are just safety issues. I think we have to somehow get our government to cut through all the crap and get right to the point. The point, which is safety. Which means a lot of things we can do without taking away people’s second amendment rights. Let’s do the sensible thing. Our government has to lead the way. They can’t just cave into the NRA just because the NRA wants to make money. They have to put people’s safety and health over the interests of the gun lobby and the gun industry. It doesn’t seem like it would be that far of a stretch, but for whatever reason, we’re paralyzed and we’re not able to do anything to protect our citizens. It’s disgusting and it’s a shame.”

 

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