Whether or not Murthy plans to ramp up gun control measures while in office, his supporters expressed joy after he was sworn in on Wednesday.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who was sworn in this week after a long confirmation battle over his stance on gun control, issued his first remarks on the issue during an interview with NPR that aired Saturday.
Murthy became a polarizing figure after President Obama nominated him for surgeon general in 2013. Gun rights groups took issue with his public stance on guns and pressured lawmakers to vote against his confirmation.
One controversial tweet Murthy sent in 2012 read: “Tired of politicians playing politics w/guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of [National Rifle Association]. Guns are a health care issue.”
But Murthy, the founder of the nonprofit group Doctors for America (formerly Doctors for Obama), was finally confirmed in a lame-duck 51-43 vote in December, much to the pleasure of gun control groups.
During his interview with NPR, Murthy was asked what he meant by his tweet and what his plans are regarding gun control as surgeon general.
“Here’s what I meant when I wrote that tweet,” Murthy began. “Violence of all kinds is a public health issue. When you have large numbers of people dying from preventable causes, that’s a health care issue. That’s a public health issue.”
“I want to find a way that we can reduce violence in America, and I think you would be hard-pressed to find parents or families of victims, or health care practitioners who would disagree.”