Washington (Feb. 22, 2017) -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) applauds Tuesday's decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a Maryland ban on assault weapons. The Maryland law bans 45 types of assault weapons and limits gun magazines to 10 rounds. The court ruled that Second Amendment protections did not apply to "weapons of war."
"We believe that the Maryland law, and other common-sense regulations on firearms, could greatly reduce the public health consequences of firearms violence," said Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP, president of ACP. "In the interest of improving health for our patients the U.S. needs a strong, multi-faceted public health approach to reducing injuries and deaths due to firearms."
The College has been on the record for nearly 20 years about the need to address firearms-related injuries and deaths as a critical issue of public health. 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. These recommendations include calling for "restrictions for civilian use on the manufacture and sale of large-capacity magazines and firearms with features designed to increase their rapid and extended killing capacity." Related to yesterday's court decision, the American Bar Association said that the paper's recommendations are "constitutionally sound." To-date, the paper has been endorsed by 52 different organizations.
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States. ACP members include 148,000 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.