ACP Pledges to Try and End Firearms-Linked Death, Injuries

Immediate federal action urged; strengthen health system to help those at risk of inflicting violence

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In the wake of the Dec. 14 tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., the American College of Physicians (ACP) has pledged to play a part in ending recurring firearm-related deaths and injuries, according to an ACP statement published Dec. 20.

David L. Bronson, M.D., president of the ACP, representing 133,000 members, committed to being a part of the change needed to reduce deaths and injuries related to firearms.

According to the statement, the ACP has proposed policies to reduce firearm-related deaths and injuries since 1996. The ACP will review the most effective approaches to reducing these injuries and deaths, and will then offer suggestions for a multi-faceted, comprehensive plan. Policies which can be implemented immediately to initiate the process include banning the sale of assault-type weapons and high-capacity magazines. In order to provide sufficient access to affordable and effective treatment options for individuals with mental health and substance abuse problems, including those few individuals at greatest risk of inflicting violence on themselves and others, the public health system should be strengthened and adequately funded. Despite efforts of some state legislatures, physicians must be able to counsel patients regarding reducing injuries and deaths from firearms in the home.

"Much more, though, needs to be done, not only to prevent massacres like Sandy Hook, and Tucson, and Virginia Tech, and Aurora, and Columbine, but also to reduce the deaths and injuries that kill more than 10,000 people each year -- in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces," Bronson said in a statement.

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