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Indianapolis Declares Gun Violence Is Public Health Issue

Supporters of the non-binding resolution recognizing gun violence as a public health issue. (Katie Simpson/WFYI)

Gun violence is now recognized as a public health issue in Indianapolis, after the City County Council passed a non-binding resolution Monday.

Ahmad Moore came to support the proposal with his daughter and members of his church. He says violence is a real problem in the city.

"If you don’t be the change, if you don’t make your voice heard, then you’re basically saying that you agree with the way things are," says Moorie.

One of the councilors who introduced the proposal, La Keisha Jackson, is a victim of gun violence herself. She says violence spreads like an infection.

"If gun violence isn’t a health issue," says Jackson, "why are so many people dying?

And Jackson says many of those that aren’t killed suffer lifelong consequences.

"Exposure to violence leads to chronic disease, mental health and trauma issues; increased of becoming a perpetrator. Prolonged exposure affects the center of the brain that enables decision making later in life," says Jackson.

Jackson says labelling gun violence and violent crime as a public health issue may make it possible for the city to qualify for federal money to fight the problem.

The recognition also makes violence a top funding priority for the city. Indianapolis is dealing with a record number of violent crimes.

Indiana Public Broadcasting's Jill Sheridan contributed to this story.

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