APA Joins Call to Action to Prevent Firearm-Related Injury and Death

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Psychiatric Association (APA) today joined six other physician and health professional organizations in calling for action to address the public health epidemic of firearm-related injury and death. In 2017, nearly 40,000 people died as a result of a firearm, a 20-year high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our nation is in the midst of an epidemic of firearm-related injuries and deaths, and we must treat this as a public health crisis,” said APA President Bruce Schwartz, M.D. “We see the long-lasting mental health impact firearm-related violence and injury has on our patients every day, and it is time for us to come together as a nation to address this epidemic.”

The groups call for several evidence-based steps, including:

  • Comprehensive criminal background checks for firearm sales.
  • Further research into the causes and consequences of firearm violence and unintentional injuries.
  • Removal of barriers to physician counseling of patients about the health risks of firearms.
  • Reasonable laws and regulations governing firearms with high-capacity magazines and other features for rapid firing.

The call to action, 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 today in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The full report can be found here.

The APA is joined by the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association.

“The house of medicine is unified in this call,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “As physicians and public health experts, we know the damage caused by firearms in this country. The time for action is now.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,500 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.

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