AMA: Gun violence is a public health crisis

The American Medical Association resolved to actively lobby Congress to overturn legislation that has prevented the CDC from researching gun violence for two decades.

Following the Orlando mass shooting that killed 50 — the deadliest mass shooting in American history — and the tally of gun-related deaths reaching more than 6,000 so far in 2016 alone, the AMA has declared gun violence "a public health crisis."

"With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship and on live television, the U.S. faces a public health crisis of gun violence," AMA President Steven Stack, MD, said in a statement. "Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries. An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death and other harms to society resulting from firearms."

The AMA already supports policies that promote firearm safety, including stricter enforcement of gun safety laws and required background checks for handgun owners. It adopted these policies in the late 1980s, and its House of Delegates has reaffirmed them repeatedly since.

 

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