'The View' co-host Sunny Hostin says gun violence should be treated like a 'public health issue'

·3-min read

Sunny Hostin says gun violence should be treated "as a public health issue."

As details of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting continue to unfold, The View co-hosts discussed the tragedy on Wednesday's show. Hostin — co-host, attorney and mom — ticked off a list of things to improve gun safety, including the implementation of smart guns.

Sunny Hostin attends the Disney 2022 Upfront presentation at Basketball City Pier 36 on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Sunny Hostin says gun violence should be treated like a "public health issue." (Photo: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

"Since 2020, guns are the leading cause of death of American children in our country. Guns," said Hostin, 53. "It hurts me so much. And I started to think: Perhaps the approach is we should think of this as a public health issue instead of a gun reform issue. Maybe that's how we need to think about it. Because truly it's a public health issue."

Hostin pointed to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy's past comments calling guns "a health care issue," which stirred up the NRA ahead of his first appointment to the role in 2014.

"Our surgeon general ... has said it over and over again — and he was chastised for it," she said. "But it is a public health issue."

Hostin then went through a list of ways to make help improve gun safety.

"Let's strengthen the background checks," she began. "Ninety percent of Americans agree with that."

She went on to suggest, "Let's up the age requirements and ban under 21-year-olds from purchasing," as the Uvalde school shooter was able to legally purchase two AR-15-style rifles in Texas legally after turning 18 this month. "If you can't buy a drink, why can you buy a gun at 18? It's freakin' ridiculous."

Hostin called for safer gun storage, tougher restrictions for those who have protection orders against them and stronger repercussions for straw purchases (when someone buys guns for someone unable to legally purchase them for themselves.)

She also slammed gun industry immunity, saying, "Let's allow people to sue firearm companies, manufacturers."

Smart guns, which can be fired only by verified users, have long been discussed — and Hostin said, at the very least, gun technology should be on par with smartphone technology.

"When our iPhones get stolen, you can kill them. You can't use them again," she said. "How about when a gun gets stolen, why can't we make them smart guns and ... destroy [them so they don't fall in the wrong hands]? We have the technology to do that."

She concluded, "These are some of those common sense gun safety reforms that we can put in place. And I think Republicans can get on board with it."

Tuesday's shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde took the lives of at least 19 children and two teachers before the shooter was killed by law enforcement. Prior to terrorizing the school, the shooter shot his grandmother.