Violence prevention 3 minute read

Taking Action on Gun Violence

CEO Lloyd Dean reflects on the tragedy in Uvalde, TX, and how CommonSpirit is working to address violence in our communities.

On Tuesday, yet another mass shooting left families mourning the loss of their loved ones, communities grieving, and so many of us feeling full of sorrow. The shooting in Uvalde, TX was especially horrific because most of the victims were young children. It comes on the heels of many other mass shootings.

We can no longer deny that gun violence is a preventable public health crisis. Firearm related deaths are now the leading cause of death among children and teens in this country. Gun violence has increased dramatically in the last two years, and more Americans are dying of gun-related injuries than ever before.

As a mission-driven health ministry, we are dedicated to advancing health for all people. Our mission and values call us to act however we can to address violence in our communities.

CommonSpirit is playing a leading role in holding gun manufacturers accountable for the risks of their firearms. We do this by being an advocate investor in publicly traded manufacturers. This means that we make very small investments in these companies, and then advance shareholder proposals that could help reduce gun violence. On June 1, investors of Sturm Ruger will vote on a resolution advanced by CommonSpirit to require a third-party Human Rights Impact Assessment. The result could be more accountability for Sturm Ruger and more transparency on how their guns are used in violent events. This follows our successful shareholder advocacy with Sturm Ruger in 2018.

CommonSpirit has engaged in efforts to pressure credit card companies to stop allowing sellers of "ghost guns" to use their services in transacting sales of untraceable firearms and components.

CommonSpirit’s Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention and Response (VHTPR) Program is a new model for health care systems to comprehensively address multiple issues of violence. This program advances a groundbreaking national initiative first started by CHI called “United Against Violence.” Our work includes support for public policy initiatives, providing more than $35 million to community programs to address violence, research into violence prevention practices, partnerships with national and local organizations, and socially responsible investing and shareholder advocacy.

We continue to strongly advocate for common-sense policy solutions to address gun violence that are broadly supported by our communities, like universal background checks for gun purchases. We know that the Second Amendment can peacefully exist with sensible and reasonable solutions to gun violence.

Events like this week’s shooting are extremely traumatic — and they remind us of the urgency to act. We send our love and thoughts to the Uvalde community and all those who are impacted by gun violence, and we promise to continue doing what we can to reduce violence in our communities.