In the wake of mass shootings over a seven-day period in Gilroy, Calif., El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which killed 36 and wounded at least 51, and following repeated calls over the last year to designate gun violence a national health crisis, the American Medical Association and the California Medical Association issued strong reactions calling for action.
David H. Aizuss, MD
California Medical Association President
“This weekend, dozens of people were again gunned down in cold blood – this time in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Last weekend, it was in Gilroy, California, where children (including a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl) were murdered while at a festival with their families. Physicians are on the front lines of these tragic events, treating the wounds and injuries of the victims of this senseless gun violence. Policies to prevent these senseless tragedies are not matters of ideology or constitutionality. They are long overdue. We can no longer accept our leaders standing idly by while more innocent victims – children, parents, family members and friends – are struck down by weapons that have no place on our streets. On an issue where common sense seems nearly impossible to find in some sectors of our politics, it is time for the overwhelming majority of Americans who support common-sense reforms to demand action and bring some sanity to our nation's gun laws.”
Patrice Harris, MD, MA
President, American Medical Association
“The devastating gun violence tragedies in our nation this weekend are heartbreaking to physicians across America. We see the victims in our emergency departments and deliver trauma care to the injured, provide psychiatric care to the survivors, and console the families of the deceased. The frequency and scale of these mass shootings demands action.
“Everyone in America, including immigrants, aspires to the ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Those shared values – not hatred or division – are the guiding light for efforts to achieve a more perfect union.
“Common-sense steps, broadly supported by the American public, must be advanced by policymakers to prevent avoidable deaths and injuries caused by gun violence. We must also address the pathology of hatred that has too often fueled these mass murders and casualties.”
AMA members cited U.S. government data showing deaths by gun almost 40,000 in 2016, including suicides, and nearly 111,000 gun injuries, compared with U.S. deaths from diabetes that totaled almost 80,000 in 2016; Alzheimer's, 111,000; and lung disease, 155,000. Cancer (600,000) and heart disease (634,000) were the leading causes of death in the U.S. in 2016.