Citing the “tens of thousands” of Americans who have died from gun violence in the 2 years since the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando, delegates at the AMA annual meeting in Chicago recently passed several resolutions to curb such acts.
“People are dying of gun violence in our homes, churches, schools, on street corners and at public gatherings, and it’s important that lawmakers, policy leaders and advocates on all sides seek common ground to address this public health crisis,” AMA immediate past president David O. Barbe, MD, said in a press release.
“In emergency rooms across the country, the carnage of gun violence has become a too routine experience. Every day, physicians are treating suicide victims, victims of domestic partner violence, and men and women simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It doesn’t have to be this way, and we urge lawmakers to act,” he continued.
AMA delegates adopted the following policies:
- Advocating for schools to remain as gun-free zones;
- Calling for a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines and assault-type weapons;
- Expanding domestic violence restraining orders to include dating partners;
- Mandate that firearm owners register all firearms, complete a safety course and be licensed;
- Opposing federal legislation allowing ‘concealed carry reciprocity;’
- Removing firearms from persons a high or imminent risk for violence;
- Require states to have protocols or processes that mandate the removal of firearms by persons a high or imminent risk for violence, and mandating gun violence restraining orders to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and
- Supporting an increase in legal age for buying ammunition and firearms to 21 years and gun buyback programs
The AMA joins several other medical societies in calling for changes to prevent gun violence.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recently asked the current administration and Congress to take “concrete steps” to address gun violence, including classifying gun violence as a national public health epidemic; financing related research as part of the federal budget; and creating constitutionally appropriate restrictions on the manufacturing and sale, for civilian use, of large-capacity magazines and firearms with features designed to increase “their rapid and extended killing capacity.”
The ACP, in its own recent statement, also implored lawmakers and the administration to take action to prevent gun violence.
“It’s more important than ever that our nation’s leaders implement common-sense policies that ban the sale of automatic and semiautomatic military-style ‘assault’ weapons that are designed to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” ACP president Ana María López, MD, MPH, said. - by Janel Miller
Disclosure: Barbe is immediate past president of AMA, López is president of ACP.