The American Academy of Family Physicians and seven other public health and medical associations today called for policies that begin to address firearm-related injuries and deaths. The call, “Firearm-Related Injury and Death in the United States: A Call to Action From the Nation’s Leading Physician and Public Health Professional Organizations,” was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In this special article, the leadership of seven of the nation’s largest physician and public health professional societies reiterate their commitment to finding solutions and call for policies to reduce firearm-related injuries and deaths. READ HERE.
Joining the American College of Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association and the American Public Health Association in the policy paper, the AAFP called for these items:
- Comprehensive criminal background checks for all firearm purchases, including sales by gun dealers, sales at gun shows, private sales and transfers between individuals with limited exceptions should be required.
- Research to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of firearm-related injury and death and to identify, test and implement strategies to reduce these events is important.
- Addition of dating partners, stalkers or individuals who commit violence against another family member to the categories of people prohibited by federal law from buying firearms. Offenders who have been adjudicated guilty of a crime of violence against a family member or intimate partner, including dating partners, cohabitants, stalkers and those who victimize a family member other than a partner or child, should be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.
- Laws that hold firearms owners accountable for negligently storing firearms. Safe storage is essential to reducing the risk for unintentional or intentional injuries or deaths from firearms, particularly in homes with children, adolescents, people with dementia, people with substance use disorders and the small subset of people with serious mental illnesses that are associated with greater risk of harming themselves and/or others.
- Improved access to mental health care paired with safeguards against broadly prohibiting all individuals with a mental health or substance use disorder from purchasing firearms.
- Enactment of extreme risk protection order laws, which allow families and law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from individuals at imminent risk for using them to harm themselves or others.
- Protection of confidential patient-physician communication on issues that affect their health, including counseling at-risk patients about mitigating the risks associated with firearms in the home and firearm safety.
- Constitutionally appropriate policies that effectively address high-capacity magazines and firearms with features designed to increase their rapid and extended killing capacity.
Read AAFP Press Release in its entirety.