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Internal Medicine Physicians Decry the Repeated Tragedy of Mass Shootings, Call for Action

Statement attributable to:
Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP
President, ACP

WASHINGTON May 25, 2022 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) was extremely saddened to hear about the mass shooting event that occurred yesterday in Uvalde, Texas, killing at least 19 elementary school students and two teachers in their school.

As I wrote just last week in a statement discussing the recent shooting in Buffalo, NY, physicians all too regularly come face-to-face with the tragedy that gun violence brings. That is why, for more than two decades ACP has called for commonsense 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. I ask that all who signed onto this call to action—and we invite others to join with us— to continue and intensify our efforts to reduce gun violence. Today I also implore my fellow physicians to consider signing the Health Care Professional’s Pledge in the Annals of Internal Medicine, pledging to ask their patients about firearms and counsel them about how they could reduce the risk in their households. I also remind the NRA, which has steadfastly opposed efforts to make the country safer from gun violence and told ACP in 2019 to stay in our lane, that tackling gun violence is in a physician’s lane as a public health crisis; we will not be intimidated from speaking out for the care of our patients.

Members of Congress and other policymakers need to do more. Many policies that could mitigate gun violence have broad public support; like closing loopholes in our background check system and enacting “red flag” laws. We also call on policymakers to move forward with banning weapons designed to kill as many people as rapidly as possible, sometimes called assault weapons, like the weapon that was evidently purchased legally and used by the shooter in Uvalde. We urge the Senate to pass legislation that Senate Majority Leader Schumer has said that he will move forward this week to improve the background check system.

As a country we cannot, and should not, continue to face shooting after shooting, while doing nothing to help prevent future incidents. Expressing sorrow for the victims and their loved ones, while standing in the way of policies that would reduce firearms-related deaths and injuries, are hollow words. We need action now. Firearms-related violence is a public health crisis that needs immediate intervention.

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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 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.

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