In wake of shootings, medical associations speak out against gun violence

Several healthcare groups spoke out against gun violence after at least 31 people were killed in mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this weekend. 

American Medical Association President Patrice Harris, MDcalled on the American public and lawmakers to take action against gun violence.  

"The devastating gun violence tragedies in our nation this weekend are heartbreaking to physicians across America," Dr. Harris said in a statement. "Common-sense steps, broadly supported by the American public, must be advanced by policymakers to prevent avoidable deaths and injuries caused by gun violence. We must also address the pathology of hatred that has too often fueled these mass murders and casualties."

The AMA has long been a proponent of gun safety, including more extensive background checks, gun buy-backs and funding to research gun violence. The association began to actively lobby Congress in 2016 to overturn legislation that barred the CDC from researching gun violence, and it declared gun violence a public health crisis. In January 2019, the physician association deemed illegal gun sales a public health emergency.

American Hospital Association Chairman Brian Gragnolati called on hospitals to use their "collective voice" against gun violence. "We must come together to support each other and stand up against violence in all its forms," he said in a statement. "We must continue to respect that diversity of all kinds is at the heart of our core values as a nation. Our patients, communities and our children are counting on us to build a future safe for all and free from fear."

The AHA is working with its members through the Hospitals Against Violence Initiative to spread best practices on violence prevention related to guns and other types of violence, like human trafficking.

American College of Emergency Physicians President Vidor Friedman, MD, said the U.S. needs to treat firearm injuries as a public health epidemic. He called for more research funding and policy to create change. "Firearm injuries—accidental or otherwise—should be addressed as a public health epidemic, with investments in research and a sweeping commitment to change that matches or exceeds the level of a number of diseases, outbreaks or disorders that capture the public conscience but have exacted far less of a human toll in recent years," Dr. Friedman said in a statement



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