Massachusetts Medical Society: Firearm Violence

Firearm Violence

Firearm Safety


THE ISSUE:

Gun violence kills approximately 100 people in the United States per day. Hundreds more are injured daily by firearms, leading to permanent disability, impaired functional ability, and emotional trauma. The volume of deaths, disabilities, and injuries from firearm violence have led to a general consensus in the medical community that firearm violence is a public health crisis.

Gun violence constitutes a direct but preventable threat to the safety of patients across our state and our country. While Massachusetts has enacted strong state level protections related to gun safety, firearms still pour into the Commonwealth due to a lack of uniform restrictions in neighboring states. Public health interventions on both a state and federal level are often proposed for firearm violence as they address the scale and complexity of the epidemic of gun violence.

OUR STANCE:

The MMS supports:

  • Statewide ban on the sale and/or possession of assault weapons by private citizens
  • Education of the general public as well as physicians about the inherent dangers of guns
  • Education of the general public as well as physicians about gun safety measures
  • Efforts to educate licensed firearms dealers on the health impacts of firearms
  • Inclusion of firearm harm risk screening in medical evaluations
  • Extreme Risk Protection Order preventive procedures
  • Mandatory licensing and background checks for all sales of firearms
  • Continued prohibition of handgun sales to or transport by persons under the age of 21
  • Penalties for adults who leave guns accessible to children under the age of 18
  • Education about reducing exposure to violent media programming
  • Requirements for firearm manufacturers to invest in safety improvements, including childproofing handguns
  • Minimum safety and material standards as well as an ongoing review of these standards
  • Imposition of a tax on all firearm sales with revenue directed toward public education regarding firearm safety
  • Strengthening the dealer licensing system
  • Prohibition of firearm ownership to those under 18, those persons convicted of felonies, and persons who abuse their spouse or child
  • Halting the sale and manufacture of lethal types of ammunition

CURRENT ADVOCACY: 

MMS partnered with the Office of the Attorney General to create information for patients and for physicians about gun safety, state firearm laws, and how to talk to patients about firearm safety.

MMS regularly testifies in support of legislation that is consistent with our firearm policies. supported legislation, including to authorize extreme risk protective orders.

The MMS is working to diminish the menace of gun violence through continued advocacy and education about firearm safety measures.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Beyond treating and caring for victims of firearm violence, physicians can also play a role in prevention. The society encourages physicians to include firearm safety as a routine component of preventive care and offers CME courses on these topics. In conjunction with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, the MMS has also developed informational brochures for both patients and providers that may be downloaded or printed for offices.

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