Amid national gun control debate, hospitals avoid partisanship: 6 things to know

While medical societies and other public health-focused organizations have been outspoken on the issue of gun control, hospitals have remained quiet by comparison, according to a Politico report.  

Here are six things to know.

1. Seventy-five national medical, health, public health and research groups signed a letter in February urging lawmakers to come up with a bipartisan plan for legislation to reduce firearm-related injuries and fatalities. Signees included the American Pediatric Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association and many others. However, the American Hospital Association was not among them.

2. The AHA hasn't officially made a declarative statement on gun violence, according to Politico. However, the lobby representing thousands of U.S. hospitals does have a "Hospitals Against Violence" webpage. The webpage, which does not include the word "gun," urges communities to join forces against "all forms of violence, now viewed as one of the major public health and safety issues throughout the country." It also includes information on national, state and local efforts to combat violence, and information to help hospital employees affected by violence.

3. AHA President Rick Pollack also did release a statement following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. In the statement, Mr. Pollack said his organization "believe[s] that the same evidence-based approach that is saving millions of lives from cancer, motor-vehicle crashes and HIV/AIDS can help reduce community violence, particularly the toll of deaths and injuries from gun violence."

4. Other organizations that haven't recently made declarative statements on gun control include the Children's Hospital Association, Catholic Health Association, Federation of American Hospitals and America's Essential Hospitals, according to Politico.

5. On March 9, Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation that, among other things, bans the sale or possession of bump stocks and sets the age limit for purchasing firearms at 21. The Florida Hospital Association did not take a position on the bill, according to the report.

6. While some major hospital groups have refrained from taking part in the nation's gun control debate, some individual hospitals have weighed in, reports Politico. Such organizations include Massachusetts General in Boston, Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Children's Mercy Kansas City (Mo.). These hospitals were among the organizations that signed a letter addressed to federal legislative leaders calling for a ban on assault weapons and the development of a universal system for background checks, among other efforts to reduce gun violence.

Read the full Politico report here.


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