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ER doctor, Yale dean sets senator straight on gun violence in Louisiana vs Chicago

Gulf Live - 11/29/2023

Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy was reminded Tuesday, Nov. 28, that those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

During Tuesday’s Senate judiciary hearing, titled “The Gun Violence Epidemic: A Public Health Crisis,” Democrats called on witnesses to testify in support of expanding last year’s landmark gun safety legislation. The witnesses, ranging from an attorney general to doctors and public health experts, were grilled by Republicans on their testimony.

While speaking to expert witness Dr. Megan Ranney from Yale’s School of Public Health, Kennedy asked why Chicago “has become America’s largest outdoor shooting range.”

“Do you think it’s because of Chicago citizens who have no criminal record but who have a gun in their home for protection or perhaps for hunting? Or do you think it’s because of a finite group of criminals who have rap sheets as long as King Kong’s arm?” he asked.

Ranney responded, “Mississippi, Louisiana, and Missouri actually have higher firearm death rates.”

According to data from the FBI and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ranney is correct. In 2021, Kennedy’s home state of Louisiana came in second place for highest firearm mortality in the entire country, with 29.1 deaths per 10,000 total population. The neighboring state of Mississippi came in first with 33.9.

Kennedy ignored Ranney’s response and once again asked: “What about Chicago?”

The emergency room physician and Yale dean of public health reminded Kennedy that she was not from Chicago and it was not her area of expertise. Instead, she pointed to studies showing the impact of environmental factors on violent crime.

Ranney referenced a study by the University of Michigan that saw a 12% decrease in gun violence within a half-mile radius of community green spaces. The study showed that streets near vacant lots cared for by community members experienced more than twice the reduction in violent crime than those receiving professional maintenance — indicating the importance of community in curbing gun violence.

Kennedy responded, “No disrespect, Doc, but that sounds a lot like word salad to me.”

Watch the full interaction below:

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