WASHINGTON, D.C. – The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Mike Kelly (R-PA) delivered the following opening statement at an Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on The Public Health Consequences and Costs of Gun Violence.
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Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you for holding the hearing today, Mr. Chairman. This is an important topic and one that deserves our attention. First off, I’d like to thank the Members of Congress who are here today to share their perspectives. And I’d also like to thank all of our other witnesses for their participation as well.
“Violence in our society is a serious problem. And the cost of health care is a concern for all Americans.
“Both problems are complex and elicit a lot of emotions from both sides of the aisle.
“These problems are not easily solved and will not be fixed with a one-size-fits-all solution.
“When it comes to finding solutions to complex issues, it is important to look at the different parts of the problem.
“One often overlooked aspect of gun violence in our country is the tragedy of suicide.
“As we will hear from one of our witnesses today, more than 60 percent of all firearm-related deaths are deaths by suicide, making it the leading cause of death by firearm in the United States. Deaths by suicide have, unfortunately, risen significantly in recent years. The number of deaths by suicide is extraordinary and the problem is particularly serious for our nation’s veterans.
“Everyone here is well aware that the two parties disagree about the wisdom of specific gun control proposals.
“But we can all agree that violence against self and others is heartbreaking and violent crimes impose great costs across society. These costs impact us individually, as families, and in our communities.
“It is my hope that today we can spend some of our time and energy on the problem of suicide and consider solutions that can be employed to make our homes and communities safer.
“Given the number of deaths by suicide in our country, this issue deserves significant attention in a hearing on gun violence.
“The good news is that there is positive work being done on this subject. We will hear today from Dr. Morissa Henn about suicide prevention efforts in the state of Utah. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing about the strategies used in Utah and about what has been effective at the state and local levels.
“It is important to consider community engagement when we think about addressing these complex issues.
“If we work together, Congress may be able to encourage states and local communities to take on the issue of suicide and gun violence in a thoughtful and effective way.
“Many times, the most effective and positive change takes place in local communities with people of different backgrounds coming together, putting aside politics and finding solutions that work.
“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today and I thank each of you for being here. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”