Statement attributable to:
Robert McLean, MD, FACP
President, American College of Physicians
Washington, DC (August 5, 2019) —The American College of Physicians (ACP) expresses our sadness and sympathy for those killed and injured in the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the physicians, first-responders, law enforcement officers, and others who helped the victims in this time of crisis. Physicians regularly come face-to-face with the tragedy that gun violence brings, but we believe that something can, and should, be done about it.
The rate of injuries and deaths related to firearms and the growing incidence of mass shootings brings to light, once again, the glaring lack of firearm policy in the U.S.—a country with one of the highest rates of gun violence in the world. These most recent events make it more important than ever that Congress and states implement common-sense policies that could prevent injuries and deaths from firearms. ACP firmly believes that this could be done by implementing restrictions to keep guns from people who pose a threat to themselves or others, including requiring universal background checks, closing loopholes that allow many domestic violence offenders to obtain guns, enacting extreme risk prevention laws, and banning sales of assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and bump stocks.
ACP has advocated for the need to address firearms-related injuries and deaths for more than 20 years. In 2018, ACP updated our firearms policy paper, Reducing Firearm-Related Injuries and Deaths in the U.S., which offered support for laws to improve background checks and policies that would reduce gun violence-related deaths. This paper sparked the “This Is Our Lane” movement of physicians speaking out on gun violence prevention, in response to an NRA tweet attacking ACP for taking on the issue.
We are additionally concerned about reports that the shooting in El Paso may have been related to prejudices against immigrants. Firearms violence and hate crimes—including those against immigrants—are both public health issues that physicians confront all too often.
ACP has urged that hate crimes be recognized as a critical public health issue. Hate crimes exact a toll on the health of not only those directly victimized but also the health of the entire community. In a policy issued in 2017, ACP urged for policies of inclusion and non-discrimination, as well as, research into the impact of hate crimes on public health, the understanding and prevention hate crimes, and the interventions that address the needs of hate crime survivors and their communities.
It is time for all who share ACP’s commitment to preventing avoidable deaths and injuries from firearms, and all who share our commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination, to come together to call for policies that can help prevent these needless tragedies.
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 159,000 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.
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