Statement attributable to:
Susan R. Bailey, M.D.
American Medical Association President
“With approximately 40,000 Americans dying from firearm-related injuries each year in the United States, we need bold action to confront this public health crisis. The AMA applauds today’s action by the Biden Administration to require background checks for ghost guns, and we urge a rapid rulemaking process to stop the proliferation of these dangerous weapons. The AMA also supports “red flag” laws allowing family members, intimate partners, household members, and law enforcement personnel to petition a court for the removal of a firearm when there is a high or imminent risk for violence. But these actions are just a first step.
“People die every day—and almost every place—in our country from firearm-related injuries. Movie theaters, grocery stores, places of worship, and elementary school classrooms have all been scenes of violence. Most of these deaths are preventable, and now is the time for lawmakers, policy leaders and advocates on all sides to seek common ground and save lives.”
Over the past two decades, the AMA has developed numerous additional policy recommendations to reduce firearm trauma, injury and death, including:
- A waiting period for firearm availability
- Background checks for all firearm purchasers
- Firearm safety and research and enhancing access to mental health care
- Gun safety education and regulation of interstate traffic of guns
- Distribution of firearm safety materials in the clinical setting
- Limit and control the possession and storage of weapons on school property
- Firearm safety counseling with patients
- Trigger locks and gun cabinets to improve firearm safety
- Data on firearm deaths and injuries
- Prevention of unintentional shooting deaths among children
- Ban on handguns and automatic repeating weapons
- Prevention of firearm accidents in children
- Waiting period before gun purchase
- Restriction of assault weapons
- Mandated penalties for crimes committed with firearms
- Public health policy approach for preventing violence in America
The AMA declared firearm-related violence–one of the leading causes of intentional and unintentional injuries and deaths in the United States–a public health crisis in in 2016. The AMA has developed resources to help physicians address firearm injuries, including a continuing medical education (CME) module designed to assist physicians in recognizing risk factors and effectively communicating with patients to reduce the risk of firearm injury and death. The module expands on the AMA’s work and extensive policy adopted over the past two decades aimed at encouraging firearm safety and preventing firearm-related injuries and deaths.
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About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.