The American Medical Association and a parade of medical care provider groups are intensifying their calls for Congress to pass gun control legislation, frustrated at the mounting death toll of Americans including children, teachers and – just this week – physicians.
The AMA, which said it has more than 20 years of policy positions designed to reduce firearm trauma, injury and death, is expected to renew and strengthen its push for gun control measures when its policy-making House of Delegates meets for its annual conference later this month. The AMA is among several healthcare provider groups that are repeatedly bombarding Congress and media outlets with their calls for legislation to address firearm violence with gun control legislation.
The effort comes following a mass shooting in Tulsa, Okla. earlier this week that killed four victims including two physicians and a massacre nine days before that in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 elementary school children and two of their teachers. And before the Texas and Oklahoma shootings a grocery store in Buffalo, NY was the scene where 10 black people were shot to death.
“As we have said repeatedly since declaring gun violence a public health crisis in 2016, gun violence is out of control in the United States, and, without real-world, common-sense federal actions, it will not abate,” AMA president Dr Gerald E. Harmon said Thursday in a statement accompanying the group’s latest letter to members of Congress. “The victims are grade school children and their teachers, people shopping for groceries on a Saturday afternoon, those attending their house of worship, and most recently in Tulsa, those who have dedicated their lives to healing.”
Specifically, the AMA wrote a letter Wednesday to Democratic and Republican leaders on the US House Judiciary Committee in support of provisions in the Protecting Our Kids Act that include:
increasing the purchasing age for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21
banning the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer or possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines and bump stocks and related devices;
closing the “ghost-gun loophole”
creating federal requirements for safe gun storage and establishing strong penalties for any violations.
The push by the AMA and other groups was similar to that of President Biden, who Thursday night urged Congress to pass limits on guns, including calling bans on assault-style weapons while expanding background checks.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis, and as with other public health areas, evidence-based interventions are needed for reducing deaths and injuries,” AMA chief executive officer Dr. James Madara wrote to House members. “As physicians, our mission is to heal and to maintain health. Most firearm injuries and deaths are preventable.”