Physician Groups Call for a Public Health Approach to Gun Violence

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On August 7, 2019, a group of physicians published an article in The Annals of Internal Medicine calling for the implementation of practical policies that would reduce firearm injuries and death. The American Public Health Association (APHA) joined the authors in writing the article, which represents several national physician professional societies: the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychiatric Association. In the article, the physicians advocate for a public health approach to preventing firearm injuries and death, which would include training health care professionals to assess whether patients exhibit a heightened risk of injuring themselves or others and to intervene when necessary.

The physician groups recommend several policies to achieve their goal, including the following:

• Closing the loophole that allows people to purchase firearms from private sellers without a background check;
• Providing federal funding for research on firearm injury and death resulting in comprehensive data collection;
• Passing legislation that would prohibit individuals who have committed violence against a dating partner or family member from purchasing firearms;
• Passing laws mandating safe storage of firearms to prevent minors from gaining access to them; and
• Improving mental health care as well as extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws, which allow family members and law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who pose an imminent risk to themselves or others.

To read the full article, click here.

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