Washington DC—On February 14, 17 children and adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, lost their lives at the hands of an individual with an assault weapon. Thousands of children across the country went to school that morning, but some never returned home that afternoon. This senseless loss of life has become all too common in our country, ending lives, shattering families and disrupting the fabric of another community forever branded by this act of violence.
Our organizations include 450,000 physicians and medical student members. Gun violence is a public health epidemic that is growing in frequency and lethality, and it is taking a toll on our patients. We urge our national leaders to recognize in this moment what the medical community has long understood: we must treat this epidemic no differently than we would any other pervasive threat to public health. We must identify the causes and take evidence-based approaches to prevent future suffering.
Today, our organizations call on the President and the United States Congress to help prevent gun violence in the following ways:
- Label this violence caused by the use of guns a national public health epidemic.
- Fund appropriate research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the FY 2018 omnibus spending package.
- Establish constitutionally appropriate restrictions on the manufacturing and sale, for civilian use, of large-capacity magazines and firearms with features designed to increase their rapid and extended killing capacity.
A music concert, shopping mall, church or school, should be places that children and adults can continue to attend without threat or fear of a mass shooting. While these mass shootings command our attention, far too many Americans remain at risk daily for suicide, homicide, and unintentional injury because of the current policy regarding access to guns in the United States.
The families of the victims in Parkland and all those whose lives have been impacted by daily acts of gun violence deserve more than our thoughts and prayers. They need action from the highest levels of our government to stop this epidemic of gun violence now.
About American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.
About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.
About the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 152,000 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. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
About the American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.