15 June 2016
In response to public outcry against gun violence in America as a result of Sunday’s Orlando shooting, the American Medical Association (AMA) at a meeting in Chicago on Tuesday declared gun violence a ‘public health crisis’.
Declaring its decision to adopt a policy that calls gun violence ‘a public health crisis’, the AMA said it will “actively lobby” Congress to end a funding ban on federal health research into the problem.
AMA President, Dr. Steven J. Stack said: “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.
“Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] 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.”
In justify calls to lift the ban on research into gun violence, Dr. Steven in a statement said: “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 2012, a congressional ban on research of gun violence was lifted by an executive order from President Barack Obama after the massacre of 20 children and six adults in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
However, Congress has since blocked funding for such research.
The AMA said it “recognises that uncontrolled ownership and use of firearms, especially handguns, is a serious threat to the public’s health inasmuch as the weapons are one of the main causes of intentional and unintentional injuries and deaths.”
The policy offers support for waiting periods to buy firearms and requiring background checks.