"The American College of Emergency Physician (ACEP) joins the nation in mourning and offers our heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and communities forever impacted by the tragic shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, this weekend.
News reports are numbing, and even the most well-intentioned thoughts and prayers fall short. As emergency physicians, we are on the frontlines of treating the victims of these senseless, violent acts. The frequency of firearm injuries and fatalities in this country is staggering, and there is no doubt about the threat posed to America’s public health and safety.
Firearm injuries—accidental or otherwise—should be addressed as a public health epidemic, with investments in research and a sweeping commitment to change that matches or exceeds the level of a number of diseases, outbreaks or disorders that capture the public conscience but have exacted far less of a human toll in recent years.
In addition to our active participation in the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM)—a non-profit organization founded and led by emergency physicians working to end the epidemic of gun violence through research, innovation and evidence-based practice—ACEP supports legislative, regulatory, and public health efforts that:
- Encourage the change of societal norms that glorify a culture of violence to one of social civility;
- Investigate the effect of socioeconomic and other cultural risk factors on firearm injury and provide public and private funding for firearm safety and injury prevention research;
- Create a confidential national firearm injury research registry while encouraging states to establish a uniform approach to tracking and recording firearm related injuries;
- Promote access to effective, affordable, and sustainable mental health services;
- Protect the duty of physicians and encourage health care provider discussions with patients on firearm safety;
- Promote the development of technology that increases firearm safety;
- Support universal background checks for firearm transactions;
- Require the enforcement of existing laws and support new legislation that prevents high risk and prohibited individuals from obtaining firearms by any means; and
- Restrict the sale and ownership of weapons, munitions, and large-capacity magazines that are designed for military or law enforcement use.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org.