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Sandy Hook Promise Echoes Surgeon General Murthy’s Call for Prevention-Based Strategies to Address the Gun Violence Public Health Crisis

Newtown, Conn. – Earlier today, the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued a landmark Advisory declaring firearm violence in America to be a public health crisis, specifically noting its impact on children and adolescents.  Since 2013, Sandy Hook Promise has championed a holistic approach toward ending gun violence that begins with public health — combining community-based programs, comprehensive research, and nonpartisan policy to keep children safe. The organization is encouraged by today’s action from the Surgeon General and hopes that it deepens the public’s understanding of the gun violence epidemic, and the necessary solutions to address the problem. 

“Today’s Advisory from Surgeon General Murthy reinforces what we know to be true — gun violence is a public health crisis in the United States, and the leading cause of death for youth,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and co-CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “In schools and youth organizations across the country, we are empowering youth and adults by giving them research-informed tools to learn and report the warning signs of gun violence to prevent tragedy before it can happen. Our results, and ongoing research, further affirm today’s Advisory that a public health approach is the best path forward to ensure no more communities will suffer from the trauma inflicted by gun violence.” 

This announcement falls on the second anniversary of President Biden signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) into law, the most significant gun safety legislation passed in decades. By garnering bipartisan support, Sandy Hook Promise played a crucial role in ensuring the law included solutions rooted in prevention that address underlying causes of gun violence. These solutions, such as expanded background checks and funding for mental health services and school safety, echo the Surgeon General’s call to implement risk reduction prevention strategies – and are proven to work. To date, Sandy Hook Promise’s prevention education programming has resulted in at least 16 credible planned school shooting attacks averted, with countless lived saved as a result.  

“Two years since the most important gun safety legislation passed in our country, this Advisory is a reminder that the crisis demands a proactive, prevention-first approach to safeguard the wellbeing of everyone, and especially young people,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and co-CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “We are encouraged by the Surgeon General’s action today and are hopeful that it will encourage more elected officials to understand the importance of addressing gun violence through the lens of public health. When we invest in nonpartisan, research-informed solutions, we will create a safer future for all children.”


Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) envisions a future where all children are free from school shootings and other acts of violence. As a national nonprofit organization, SHP’s mission is to educate and empower youth and adults to prevent violence in schools, homes, and communities. Creators of the life-saving, evidence-informed “Know the Signs” prevention programs, SHP teaches the warning signs of someone who may be in crisis, socially isolated, or at-risk of hurting themselves or others and how to get help. SHP also advances school safety, youth mental health, and responsible gun ownership at the state and federal levels through nonpartisan policy and partnerships. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. 

Media Contact:

Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579