The incidence of gun violence in the United States has become unimaginable in frequency and proportion. The escalating number of gun-related deaths from mass shootings, accidental firings, death by suicide, and violent crimes across the nation must be addressed, and gun violence must be acknowledged as the serious public health crisis that it is.
Gun violence involves many of the systemic public health issues our nation faces, including the dearth of appropriate and available mental health services, poverty, and inequitable access to health care, all of which have far-ranging effects on victims, their families, and communities.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is heartened by the work of the bipartisan group of senators who have shared an agreement on principles for gun safety legislation. If passed, this legislation will represent an important first step in beginning to address gun violence. In addition to these legislative efforts, ABMS joins other prominent health care organizations and professional societies, including the American Medical Association and the National Academy of Medicine, in a call for the profession itself to address gun violence as a national public health priority. Among the solutions are seeking funding for and increased access to social, emotional, and mental health assistance; supporting trauma centers and interventional care; ceasing physician firearm “gag” legislation; investing in violence research; and supporting sensible gun laws.