Medical Association Makes Fresh Call for Action on Gun Violence

The American Medical Association House of Delegates, meeting this week, voted to support a broad array of “common-sense” gun safety measures, including raising the age requirement for gun ownership, implementing stronger background checks, and expanding the use of restraining orders to protect potential victims.

The American Medical Association this week weighed in again in America’s ongoing gun violence debate.

On Tuesday, the AMA House of Delegates voted to support a series of “common-sense measures” to combat gun violence, including stronger background checks, better data collection, and the expanded use of restraining orders in domestic violence cases.

The resolutions, coming in the midst of the association’s annual meeting in Chicago, reflect the AMA’s long-standing support of policies that promote gun safety.

“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,” AMA Immediate Past President David O. Barbe said in a news release. “In emergency rooms across the country, the carnage of gun violence has become a too routine experience.”

The delegates adopted or modified a wide variety of policy positions on firearms issues. For the first time, AMA urged Congress to pass legislation that would allow family members and others to ask a court to remove a firearm from a household when risk of injury is imminent, and that would expand domestic violence restraining orders to include dating partners. The association said it will advocate for maintaining gun-free school zones and against any moves to arm teachers.

AMA also called for a general ban on the sale of guns to people under the age of 21 and for additional resources to be allocated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the causes of gun violence.

“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,” Barbe said.

A surging grassroots gun safety movement led largely by students after the mass shooting at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February has increased the pressure for legislative action, but opposition to greater gun regulation remains strong.  Mass school shootings and other high-profile incidents of gun violence have led other medical groups to respond as well: The American Academy of Pediatrics announced earlier this year that it would fund research into gun violence involving children.

(sdominick/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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