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Internal Medicine Physicians Support Presidentís Call for Comprehensive Plan to Prevent Firearms-Related Violence

Statement of the American College of Physicians

January 16, 2013

Statement attributable to:
David L. Bronson, MD, FACP
President, American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians (ACP), representing 133,000 internal medicine physician specialists and medical student members, pledges today to work with President Obama, Vice President Biden, and members of Congress from both political parties to enact and implement a comprehensive plan to reduce violence, injuries and deaths from firearms. The policies proposed today by President Obama appropriately included a multi-faceted approach that includes measures to keep firearms out of the hands of persons likely to commit violent acts, to ban assault-type weapons and high capacity ammunition clips, to eliminate restrictions on research on the causes of firearms-related violence, and to improve access to mental health services. ACP agrees on the urgency of adoption of policies that includes these and other measures and is committed to being part of the change outlined by the President.

Specifically, ACP supports recommendations made on:

  • Requiring background checks on all gun sales
  • Banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
  • Protecting police by banning armor-piercing bullets
  • Ending the freeze on gun violence research and investigating the causes and prevention of violence, including the Presidentís executive order to instruct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin collecting such data
  • Preserving the rights of doctors to counsel their patients on preventing deaths and injuries from firearms. In this regard, state governments must also do their part, by not imposing restrictions on engaging in such discussions with their patients, as some state legislatures have attempted to do.
  • Promoting best practices by gun owners to store guns safely
  • Improving access to mental health services, especially for students and young adults
  • Ensuring coverage of mental health treatment

For more than 15 years, ACP has proposed and advocated for policies to reduce deaths and injuries related to firearms and other forms of violence, even as we must also acknowledge today that more must be done. In addition to actively supporting the Presidentís call for immediate action by Congress to enact legislation based on the policies unveiled today, ACP is conducting a comprehensive review of the evidence on causes and solutions to violence related to firearms and other forms of violence, and will be sharing our analysis and recommendations later this year.

Today, we pledge to do our part to try to end the recurring tragedy of deaths and injuries from persons using firearms and all forms of violence.

***

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 133,000 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 and Facebook.

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