Statement attributable to:
Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP
WASHINGTON June 22, 2022 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) strongly supports the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938) legislation intended to protect America’s children, keep schools safe and reduce the threat of firearms violence across the country, and urges Congress to pass it without delay.
ACP is encouraged by a procedural Senate vote last night to advance the bill, which saw support from all Democratic and 14 Republican Senators. This vote will allow the bill to be taken up by the Senate as early as today. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has stated the House will promptly take up the legislation if and when passed by the Senate.
In a letter that ACP sent to Senate leadership today, ACP strongly supports provisions in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that would provide for enhanced background checks for persons aged 18-21 seeking to purchase a firearm; better protect victims of domestic abuse by eliminating the “boyfriend exemption” that has allowed some persons with convictions for domestic violence or have recent restraining orders to buy firearms; help states create and sustain programs for crisis intervention orders, including “red flag” laws to temporarily remove firearms with due process if a court finds a person at imminent risk of using firearms to harm themselves or others; require more sellers of firearms to be federally licensed; create measures to end straw purchasers that circumvent background checks; and bolster the nation’s response to mental-health issues. ACP applauds the inclusion of critical funding for state crisis interventions and for community-based violence protection initiatives.
ACP also supports the provisions that call for expansion of telehealth mental health services for children and youth by requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to furnish the necessary guidance to states. In addition, ACP would also recommend increased funding for primary care clinicians for mental health training and has strongly supported legislation that would improve and expand the 988 system that would provide 24/7, free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
For more than two decades, ACP has called for common-sense policies that would help reduce the number of injuries and deaths stemming from firearms. In 2019, ACP joined with 41 other leading organizations in a joint call-to-action that called for evidence-based solutions to mitigate firearms violence. We are pleased that many of the proposals included in our most recent policy paper on firearms violence prevention are also policies contained in this bipartisan Senate legislation and urge its immediate enactment.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 161,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.