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June 13, 2018

Gun violence is a 'public health crisis,' AMA says. Here's how the group wants to address it.

Daily Briefing

    The American Medical Association (AMA) on Tuesday adopted several policy recommendations in favor of gun control measures, calling gun violence a U.S. public health crisis.

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    AMA adopts gun-control policy recommendations

    AMA delegates on Tuesday voted to amend the group's policy on firearms and adopt several recommendations that AMA said are intended to "bolste[r]" the group's "already strong policy on gun violence prevention."

    In particular, AMA delegates adopted policy recommendations that:

    • Advocate for schools to remain gun-free zones;
    • Call for a ban on sales and ownership of "assault-type weapons," as well as high-capacity magazines, bump stocks, and related devices;
    • Call for laws to prevent individuals who are under a domestic violence restraining order or who have been convicted of misdemeanor violent crimes, such as stalking, from buying or owning a firearm;
    • Call for changing federal law to allow domestic violence restraining orders to include protections for dating partners;
    • Impose restrictions on firearm access for individuals who pose a high or imminent risk for violence—allowing family members, intimate partners, household members, and law enforcement to petition a court to remove firearms from such individuals;
    • Oppose federal legislation recognizing concealed carry permits across stateliness;
    • Support programs to buy back guns and conduct research into such programs; and
    • Raise the legal age of purchasing ammunition and firearms in the United States from 18 to 21.


    According to The Hill, David Barbe, AMA's outgoing president, said although AMA previously has supported measures related to gun control, including a ban on assault weapons and improving access to mental health care, the group has decided to take a stronger stance on gun violence in light of recent shootings.

    Barbe said, "People are dying of gun violence in our homes, churches, schools, on street corners, and at public gatherings, and it's important that lawmakers, policy leaders and advocates on all sides seek common ground to address this public health crisis" (Baker, "Vitals," Axios, 6/13; Japsen, Forbes, 6/12; Weixel, The Hill, 6/12; Ross Johnson, Modern Healthcare, 6/12; AMA release, 6/12).

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