Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The nation’s chief doctor said he doesn’t regret saying gun violence is a public health issue, calling his difficult confirmation process a consequence of speaking out.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Saturday that the backlash from his gun-control statement was disappointing but not a surprise.

He was confirmed in December in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association, which was a rare defeat for the powerful gun lobby.

Murthy said the challenging process showed him the importance of community, including those from the medical, public health, tech and Asian-American communities who rallied in support of him. He also credited his fiancee Alice Chen for helping him cope.

The doctor said he still believes gun violence is a preventable health problem, comparing it to seatbelts and swimming pool safety.

He was speaking at the Asian American Journalists Association convention gala in San Francisco.