HONOLULU – With more than 45,000 firearm-related deaths in the United States each year and, until earlier this year, more than 30 years of Congressional inaction on the issue, the American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted policy during the Interim Meeting of its House of Delegates to establish a task force focused on firearm violence prevention, including firearm-involved suicide. Additionally, the new policy calls on the AMA to collaborate with interested state and specialty societies to increase engagement in litigation related to firearm safety.
“Six years ago, just before the AMA Annual Meeting, a shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando prompted physician and medical student delegates to declare firearm violence a public health crisis in the United States. Today we gather in the wake of another tragic shooting, this one on the campus of the University of Virginia, that left young people dead and a campus on lockdown,” said AMA President Jack Resneck, Jr., M.D. “We cannot continue to live this way. Our children spend portions of school days running active shooter drills, knowing full well their classroom could be next. In movie theaters, houses of worship, hospitals, big cities and small towns, firearm violence has shattered any sense of security and taken lives. As physicians and healers, we are committed to ending firearm violence by advocating for common-sense, evidence-based solutions, and this task force will be key to that ongoing effort.”
Today’s action builds on the more than 30 policy recommendations adopted over the past two decades by the AMA House of Delegates to reduce firearm trauma, injury, and death. These policies include:
- 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.
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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.