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ACP Calls for Policies to Reduce Injury and Deaths from Firearms

Statement attributable to:
Jack Ende, MD, MACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (October 2, 2017)—We have yet again set a new bar for the biggest mass casualty shooting in recent U.S. history, with 58 dead and over 500 injured.  The American College of Physicians (ACP) wishes to express our sadness, concern and sympathy for those killed and injured and for their friends, families and communities.  We also express our appreciation to the first-responders, physicians, police, and others who helped the victims.  We thank them for both their immediate work and for the work that will come in the days and weeks ahead as our nation deals with the aftermath of a mass shooting once again.

Mass shootings, each seemingly worse than the one before, have become frequent and even common-place.  Something needs to change. We must acknowledge that lack of a U.S. policy to address gun violence is the reason we have much higher rates of injuries and deaths from firearms violence than other countries.  Specifically, we call for a ban on the sale and ownership of automatic and semiautomatic weapons.   These are military-style “assault” weapons that were designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. 

The College has been on the record for nearly 20 years about the need to address firearms-related injuries and deaths as a critical issue of public health.  In a 2015 call-to-action published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, ACP, jointly with 7 other health professional organizations and the American Bar Association, offered a series of recommendations on firearm-related violence.  The American Bar Association has said that the paper’s recommendations are “constitutionally sound.”  To-date, the paper has been endorsed by 52 different organizations.

Just last year, in the wake of the devastating shooting in Orlando, ACP called on Congress to pass legislation that would ensure the safety of Americans by reducing the threat of injury or death from firearms.  In light of the rising number of mass shootings, this is a serious public health issue that needs to be addressed immediately by Congress.

As a resource to physicians and the public, all gun-related content published in Annals of Internal Medicine is free to the public. A collection is available at http://annals.org/aim/pages/firearm-related-content.

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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 152,000 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.

Contact: Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org