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Internists Again Call for Policies to Reduce Injury and Deaths from Firearms

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

Washington, DC (November 6, 2017)—Yesterday another mass shooting took place in our country, this time at a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. We are once again dealing with a new set of families and friends confronting immeasurable pain. 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 their community. We also express our appreciation to the first-responders, physicians, police, and others who helped the victims.

Mass shootings have sadly become a commonplace occurrence in our country.  We need our response to be different this time. We need to 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.  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 critical public health issue that needs to be addressed immediately by Congress.

The College has been on the record for nearly 20 years about the need to address firearms-related injuries and deaths. 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.

Last month the Annals of Internal Medicine published an opinion piece calling for physicians to pledge to speak with their patients about firearms ownership and safety.  Patients trust the counsel they receive from their physician, this is a conversation we need to have to protect the health and well-being of our patients and all of us.

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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