Washington, DC (March 7, 2018) -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) today sent letters urging Congress to take immediate action to reduce the rate of firearms violence in the U.S. The letters to House and Senate leadership expressed ACP's alarm that despite multiple mass shootings across the country - from Las Vegas to Florida - comprehensive legislation to reduce the threat of injury or death from firearms has yet to be enacted.
"Deaths and injuries from firearms are not just a result of mass shootings, they are a daily occurrence," said Jack Ende, MD, MACP, President, ACP. "As an organization representing physicians who have first-hand experience with the devastating impact on the health of their patients resulting from firearms-related injuries and deaths, we have a responsibility to be part of the solution in trying to mitigate firearms-related tragedies."
In light of the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida and the increasing number of mass shootings, as well as the daily toll of gun violence in neighborhoods, homes, work places, and public and private places throughout the U.S., the letters assert that firearms-related violence is a serious public health issue that needs to be addressed by Congress immediately.
ACP encouraged support for measures that would:
- Reject any consideration of concealed carry reciprocity, which would make it possible for individuals who would not meet the requirements in states with more restrictive firearms safety concealed carry laws to carry hidden, loaded firearms in public--posing a threat to public health and safety.
- Prohibit the sale of high-velocity, rapid-fire "assault weapons," bump stocks, and large capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. These weapons have become the weapon of choice for most mass shooters because of their ability to inflict lethal harm to as many victims as possible, in as little time as possible.
- Strengthen the accuracy and reporting of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as well as expand background checks to cover all commercial firearm sales.
- Ensure that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Justice can freely study the effect of violence and unintentional firearms-related injury on public health and safety.
- Enact strong penalties for persons who unlawfully purchase firearms for other persons who are in a prohibited category-known as "straw purchasers."
"ACP has pressed for the adoption of policies to reduce deaths and injuries related to firearms violence for 20 years. Yet, Congress has failed to enact most of our policy recommendations, and in recent years, has even repealed firearms violence prevention policies that will make all of us less safe from injuries and deaths from firearms. This public health emergency must not be allowed to continue," said Dr. Ende. "ACP calls on Congress to address the public health crisis created by firearms by taking concrete action to implement meaningful, long-term firearms policy that is truly needed to protect Americans."