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Internists Encouraged by Bill Raising Minimum Age to Buy Assault-Style Weapons to 21

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

Washington, DC (January 24, 2019) — The American College of Physicians (ACP) is encouraged by the bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday that would raise the minimum age to buy assault-style weapons to 21. ACP strongly supports policies to reduce firearms-related injuries and deaths. The Raise the Age Act is a positive step forward in improving public health by keeping guns out of the hands of young adults who present a greater risk of harming themselves or others, but more must be done to move the needle towards a full ban.

In ACP’s 2018 policy paper, Reducing Firearm-Related Injuries and Deaths in the U.S., the College supported increasing the minimum age to purchase semiautomatic firearms that are designed to increase their rapid killing capacity and large-capacity magazines to 21, consistent with the existing federal requirement for handguns. However, ACP recommended that the age increase should only be done as an interim step towards a complete ban on sales of these firearms.

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.

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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 154,000 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: Julie Hirschhorn, (202) 261-4523, jhirschhorn@acponline.org