ACP launches initiative to address gun violence

Firearms


April 28, 2023

2 min read

Disclosures:
Erickson is employed by ACP. Mire is employed by Heritage Medical Associates and serves on the End Point Review Committee for the State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company. Bornstein is employed by the Texas Medical Home Initiative.


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SAN DIEGO — The ACP has announced the launch of an online hub for internal medicine physicians that offers resources for the prevention of firearm injuries and deaths.

The hub consolidates the ACP’s articles and position papers published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, along with videos that provide tips on discussing firearm safety with patients. It also includes links to a collection of personal stories related to gun violence and a health care professionals’ pledge to discuss firearm safety with their patients.

Image of Firearm
The ACP created an online hub for all its resources on the prevention of firearm-related injuries and deaths. Image: Adobe Stock

“These resources are important because physicians and other health care professionals have a responsibility to take action to prevent gun injuries and deaths and care for those who suffer their consequences,” ACP President Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP, said during a press briefing at the 2023 ACP Internal Medicine Meeeting.

According to the Pew Research Center, gun deaths are at their highest level since the early 1990s.

“There is no doubt that firearm violence is an epidemic in the United States,” said Sue S. Bornstein, MD, FACP, chair of the ACP Board of Regents. “More Americans lose their lives to firearm injury than to motor vehicle crashes each year.”

Bornstein, who said she is a gun owner, mentioned during the briefing that “shootings of any kind can manifest themselves in our patients in long-lasting symptoms like panic attacks, fear and post-traumatic stress disorders for many years, in addition to both short-term and long-term physical injuries.”

Shari M. Erickson, MPH, the chief advocacy officer and senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy at ACP, said the college has advocated for commonsense policies to prevent firearm injuries and deaths for almost 3 decades.

“ACP’s recommendations include things like keeping guns from people who pose a threat, banning the sale of assault weapons and bump stocks, and requiring that firearms and ammunition be stored safely and securely,” she said.

In 2018, the ACP updated its position statement on firearm injuries and deaths. At the time, the National Rifle Association criticized the medical organization for taking a stance on the issue, and in response, ACP started the #ThisIsOurLane movement, encouraging physicians to speak out on gun violence prevention.

Both Bornstein and Erickson said physicians have embraced that message, especially in recent years, given the horrific prevalence of mass shootings in the U.S.

“Regardless of whether one believes that guns hurt people or that people using guns hurt people, this public health crisis demands that health care professionals have an obligation to do what we can to combat it,” Mire said.

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