AMA Declares Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis

"With approximately 30,000 men, women, and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship, and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence," said AMA President Dr. Steven J. Stack, M.D.

The American Medical Association adopted a policy June 14 that declares gun violence is "a public health crisis" requiring a public health response, and the influential association also will lobby Congress to lift its ban on gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lobbying resolution was adopted at the Annual Meeting of AMA's House of Delegates.

"With approximately 30,000 men, women, and children dying each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of worship, and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence," said AMA President Dr. Steven J. Stack, M.D. "Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries. An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement, and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death, and other harms to society resulting from firearms."

In the 1980s, AMA already had adopted some policies that support increasing the safety of firearms and their use and reducing and preventing firearm violence. And AMA policy supports stricter enforcement of current federal and state gun safety laws and the imposition of mandated penalties for crimes committed with the use of a firearm, including the illegal possession of a firearm.

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