Preventing Firearms-Related Injuries and Deaths

Prevent Firearms-Related Deaths and Injuries

Issue: Reduce the public health crisis of firearms-related injuries and deaths through investments in research and much needed evidence-based policy reforms at all levels of government.

Why Action is Urgently Needed

In 2022, more than 48,000 Americans’ deaths were firearm related, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ACP remains concerned not only about the alarming number of mass shootings in the country, but also suicides which make up over 50 percent of injuries and deaths from firearms. These events take a daily toll in our neighborhoods, homes, workplaces, and public and private venues.

While the 2022 enactment of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which ACP strongly supported, is an important foundation, it is clear that additional state and federal regulatory and legislative action is needed to improve safety and reduce injury and death from firearms.

ACP’s Position

For more than thirty years, ACP has consistently called for common-sense 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 call-to-action that requested evidence-based solutions to mitigate firearms violence. ACP is continuing that work in 2024 by participating in several physician-organization coalitions dedicated to reducing injury and death caused by firearms such as the Healthcare Coalition for Firearm Injury Prevention (HCFIP) and the Gun Violence Prevention Research Roundtable.

While it is encouraging that some of the policies included in our most recent policy paper about firearms violence prevention were in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, such as closing domestic violence loopholes, increasing background checks, and providing support and funding for Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), more action must be taken. ACP calls on the federal and state governments to take urgent and necessary steps to curb firearm violence by implementing comprehensive criminal background checks for firearm purchases, funding research for gun violence prevention, expanding Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), increasing education and awareness about safely storing firearms, prohibiting high-capacity magazines, and preventing “gag laws” that prohibit physicians from counseling their at-risk patients about mitigating the risks associated with firearms. In addition, there has been a great deal of momentum in states to reduce firearms-related injuries and deaths, and ACP has developed a toolkit, that physicians can use to advocate for action in their own states. ACP members can also access materials about how to talk to their patients about firearms and read the latest Annals of Internal Medicine articles about this topic here.

Call to Action

  • Support Ethan’s Law, H.R. 660 and S. 173, requiring gun owners to safely and securely store their firearms.
  • Support the Extreme Risk Protection Order Expansion Act, H.R. 768 and S. 247, empowering family members and law enforcement to prevent firearm violence by petitioning a court to temporarily separate an at-risk individual from firearms.
  • Support the funding level from the Senate FY 2024 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill for firearm violence prevention research in the in any final FY 2024 appropriations bill. Support a funding increase for this research in FY 2025.