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ACP Reaffirms Calls for Policies to Reduce Injuries and Deaths from Firearms After Texas Shooting

Statement attributable to:
Ana María López, MD, MPH, FACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (May 18, 2018) —  The American College of Physicians (ACP) expresses our sadness and sympathy for those killed and injured during this morning’s mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. We offer the community our support. We also extend our gratitude to the physicians, first-responders, law enforcement officers, and others who helped the victims in the wake of the shooting. Yet again, ACP expresses our frustration on the lack of action on firearms policy that is needed to protect Americans. 

Too often, I’ve witnessed physicians come face-to-face with the devastation that gun violence brings. As we deal with the aftermath of yet another mass shooting, it’s more important than ever that our nation’s leaders implement common-sense policies that ban the sale of automatic and semiautomatic military-style “assault” weapons that are designed to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. The U.S. remains a country with one of the highest rates of gun violence in the world, with rates of injuries and deaths related from firearms exponentially increasing as a result of our country’s inadequate policies on firearms. 

Next Wednesday, ACP will engage with congressional leaders on policies that will reduce injuries and deaths from firearms, as nearly 400 of our members arrive in Washington to visit with their representatives in Congress during our annual Leadership Day event on Capitol Hill. Firearms-related injuries and deaths can be prevented by common-sense legislation that expands background checks, bans the sale of bump stocks, and improves access to mental health services while avoiding stigmatization of persons with mental and substance use disorders through blanket reporting laws. The time to stop protecting guns over patients is now. 

For more than two decades, ACP has advocated for the need to address firearms-related injuries and deaths. In 2014, we published a comprehensive set of recommendations. In 2015, ACP joined with the American College of Surgeons; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Public Health Association, American Psychiatric Association; American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American Bar Association in a call to action to address gun violence as a serious threat to public health. The statement offered specific policy recommendations on addressing and preventing firearm-related violence including restrictions on sale of assault weapons, improving reporting laws, and closing gaps in background checks. This call to action was subsequently endorsed by another 52 organizations spanning clinician, consumer, families of gun violence victims, research, public health, and other health advocacy organizations.

Following the mass shootings at Sandy Hook, Connecticut; Charleston, SC; Orlando, Las Vegas, NV, and Parkland Florida in February 2018, and so many others, ACP has urged Congress to pass legislation that would help keep Americans safe and healthy by reducing the threat of injury or death from firearms. ACP also asked Congress to provide $50 million in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct public health research into firearm morbidity and mortality prevention. 

Congress’ inaction has helped create the circumstances where yet another school mass shooting has occurred, this time, at Santa Fe High School in Texas. It’s time for Congress to act now to implement common-sense policies to reduce gun violence, before another mass shooting occurs.

Additionally, all ACP firearms-related health policy content published in Annals of Internal Medicine is free to the public at http://annals.org/aim/pages/firearm-related-content.

Contact: Julie Hirschhorn, (202) 261-4523, jhirschhorn@acponline.org

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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.