BOSTON (CBS) —  Saying there is no time to waste, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and a number of her counterparts across the country are asking Congress to treat gun violence like a public health issue.

Healey and 13 other Attorneys General from across the nation sent a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday, calling on them to not only end the ban on Centers for Disease Control gun research, but also start actively funding the CDC’s research into gun violence’s causes.

Read The Full Letter

“It’s amazing, CDC covers all sorts of consumer products,” Healey told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens. “The one consumer product they’re banned from studying is guns.”

Healey was in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to talk about the issue. She says the public health issue of gun violence has become lost in the national debate over the Second Amendment.

“This is a problem, because if you want to identify effective strategies to reduce the number of gun-related shootings or deaths, you’ve got to have the CDC being able to research it and look at it,” Healey said.

According to the letter, gun violence kills 33,000 people in the United States each year, with the majority of those deaths caused by suicide rather than homicide. In addition, the letter states that African Americans are almost two times as likely to be killed by gun violence as white individuals.

Healey says studying gun violence will give authorities a better handle on effective prevention strategies, and help minimize deaths.

“We need doctors and medical professionals to be able to actually talk to their patients about gun safety and gun violence, the presence of guns in the home, in the same way they counsel patients about seat belts and vaccinations and other products.”

She also acknowledged that the National Rifle Association will probably be opposed to the proposal.

“The NRA was the organization that lobbied Congress to impose its ban on the CDC,” said Healey. “They also worked to effectively strip 96 percent of its funding over the last ten years or more. So I anticipate that they’ll similarly be opposed in this instance, but I hope not, because this is a matter of public health, of public safety.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans were also in Washington Tuesday to discuss gun violence prevention at the White House State and Local Gun Violence Prevention Convening. Walsh will address the attendees about local efforts in gun violence prevention Tuesday afternoon.

“Gun violence is one of the defining challenges of our time,” Walsh said in a statement. “We know that in order to get illegal guns off of streets and out of the wrong hands, we must work with our regional and national partners on commonsense strategies that work.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

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