American Medical Association Finally Agrees Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis
The tragic events in Orlando this past weekend have spurred the largest medical organization in the United States to reverse course on the issue of gun violence, a move that could eventually affect gun control legislation all across the country.
On Monday, the American Medical Association voted almost unanimously to declare that gun violence in America was a public health crisis and should be studied like any other public health threat.
“Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries,” said AMA President Dr. Steven Stack, in a written statement.
“An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death and other harms to society resulting from firearms.”
The AMA has for years toed the line between declaring gun violence a public health issue, but had always refrained from officially joining the coalition of other medical groups who do consider it a threat to the public’s well-being.
With their decision Wednesday, the AMA will now flex its “powerful political muscle on Capitol Hill to refocus federal funds toward studying gun violence,” ThinkProgress wrote.
That fight will likely focus first on the 20-year ban Congress instituted in 1996 – known as the Dickey amendment – that blocks the Centers for Disease Control from doing research – just research – on gun violence.
The AMA’s move comes just days after a man took the lives of 49 people, and injured 53 more in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and the 136th mass shooting (four or more people wounded or killed) in the 164 days so far in 2016.