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Internal Medicine Physicians Call for Gun Violence to be Declared a National Epidemic and Public Health Emergency
Statement attributable to:
Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP
WASHINGTON July 5, 2022 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) believes it is time to state what is now self-evident: the mass shooting yesterday in Highland Park, the shooting in Philadelphia, the shooting in Minneapolis, and so many other communities show that the United States is experiencing a national epidemic of gun violence. The policy and public health response must treat it as such, using all the tools one would employ for an epidemic.
The mass shooting that took place in Highland Park, IL on July 4, at what should have been a celebratory community event, tragically ended the lives of 6 people, injured nearly 40 people, and countless others are left to deal with the loss of their loved ones and the trauma of the day. The shootings yesterday underscore the disturbing reality that all of us, anytime, anywhere are at risk of being victims of a mass shooting.
We need to do more to prevent tragedies like we witnessed yesterday. The Bipartisan Safe Communities law that was recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, is a positive step toward the type of regulations we need to begin to stem preventable gun violence in this country. An effective national response to the gun violence epidemic must include greater regulation to prevent persons from accessing firearms if they are at risk of harming themselves and others, banning weapons designed to inflict mass casualties as rapidly as possible, and a public health messaging on what individuals and communities can do to prevent and reduce gun violence. States that have enacted more restrictive gun laws have lower rates of deaths and injuries from gun violence, but remain at risk when neighboring states do not.
A declaration that gun violence is a national epidemic and public health emergency will necessitate focus and help to enable the allocation of resources required to prevent the injuries and deaths from firearms. ACP will continue to press Congress, states, and the administration to increase our national efforts to keep our patients and our communities safe.
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 161,000 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, Facebook, and Instagram.
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