AMA Delegates Adopt Several Gun Safety Measures

"People are dying of gun violence in our homes, churches, schools, on street corners, and at public gatherings, and it's important that lawmakers, policy leaders, and advocates on all sides seek common ground to address this public health crisis," said AMA Immediate Past President David O. Barbe, M.D., MHA.

The American Medical Association House of Delegates adopted measures at the 2018 AMA Annual Meeting last week supporting gun violence restraining orders, tougher background checks, and better data collection, among other measures. The organization has been urging Congress and the administration to provide dedicated resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to advance research on gun violence.

"People are dying of gun violence in our homes, churches, schools, on street corners, and at public gatherings, and it's important that lawmakers, policy leaders, and advocates on all sides seek common ground to address this public health crisis," said AMA Immediate Past President David O. Barbe, M.D., MHA. "In emergency rooms across the country, the carnage of gun violence has become a too routine experience. Every day, physicians are treating suicide victims, victims of domestic partner violence, and men and women simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It doesn't have to be this way, and we urge lawmakers to act."

During the annual meeting, delegates adopted policy for the AMA to support:

  • Establishing laws allowing family members, intimate partners, household members, and law enforcement personnel to petition a court for the removal of a firearm when there is a high or imminent risk for violence
  • Prohibiting people who are under domestic violence restraining orders, convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes, or stalking from possessing or purchasing firearms
  • Expanding domestic violence restraining orders to include dating partners
  • Requiring states to have protocols or processes in place for requiring the removal of firearms by prohibited people
  • Requiring domestic violence restraining orders and gun violence restraining orders to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System
  • Efforts to ensure the public is aware of the existence of laws that allow for the removal of firearms from high-risk individuals

The delegates also modified existing policy to recognize the role of firearms in suicides; encourage the development of curricula and training for physicians with a focus on suicide risk assessment and prevention and lethal means safety counseling; and encourage physicians, as a part of their suicide prevention strategy, to discuss lethal means safety and work with families to reduce access to lethal means of suicide.

Newly adopted policy also means the AMA will advocate for schools to remain gun-free zones except for school-sanctioned activities and professional law enforcement officials and will oppose requirements or incentives for teachers to carry weapons.

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