Physicians resolve to focus on gun violence as a public health issue

The relative silence of the health profession on matters related to gun violence is disturbing,” according to the American College of Physicians.

On New Year’s Day, the Annals of Internal Medicine published “A New Year’s Resolution for Physicians: Time to Focus on the Public Health Threat of Gun Violence.”

Bystanders react at the scene after a 20-year-old man was shot to death early Tuesday morning in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. Photograph for the GunCrisis Reporting Project by Joseph Kaczmarek.

Bystanders react at the scene after a 20-year-old man was shot to death early Tuesday morning in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. Photograph for the GunCrisis Reporting Project by Joseph Kaczmarek.

The statement reflects on the voice of physicians on other issues threatening public health, such as air pollution, bicycle helmets, drunk driving, secondhand smoke and more, but concedes that they are “long overdue in directing our expertise, commitment, and passion to another public health danger—gun violence.

Both physiological and psychological ramifications of gun violence are both to light, including PTSD and the impact on communities.

Citing the 11,493 gun homicides in the US in 2009, the group asserts that “without easy access to guns, people would be far less lethal.”

On the topic of mental health, the statement asserts that “it seems incongruous that we prohibit an individual with epilepsy from driving while allowing an individual with psychosis to purchase firearms and ammunition.

Finally, they call for reinstitution of funding to support evidence-based guideline efforts to reduce violence and gun-related injuries and deaths.

Annals was established by the American College of Physicians in 1927 and is the premier internal medicine journal.

Read the full post: A New Year’s Resolution for Physicians: Time to Focus on the Public Health Threat of Gun Violence

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