AMA calls for background checks, wait periods to prevent gun violence

AMA Wire
Email this page

The AMA adopted policy calling for background checks and a waiting period for all firearms purchasers, expanding on its previous policy of requiring the same for only handguns. 

"The shooting in Orlando is a horrific reminder of the public health crisis of gun violence rippling across the United States," AMA Immediate-Past President Steven J. Stack, MD, said in a news release. "Mass killers have used AR-15s, rifles and handguns, and today we strengthened our policy on background checks and waiting periods to cover them all, with the goal of keeping lethal weapons out of the hands of dangerous people."

Eighteen states have background check requirements, but the provisions vary widely. The AMA considers firearms a public health issue. The newest policy builds on numerous AMA policies that support increased firearm safety to reduce and prevent firearm violence. The new AMA policy parallels policies endorsed by other health organizations.

Allowing research

Earlier at the 2016 AMA Annual Meeting, the AMA adopted policy calling gun violence in the United States “a public health crisis” requiring a comprehensive public health response and solution. Additionally, the AMA resolved to lobby Congress to overturn legislation that for 20 years has prevented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from researching gun violence.

“Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, 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,” Dr. Stack said. “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.”

Email this page


Meaningful self-defense is a HUMAN RIGHT.<br/> <br/> There is no "public health" crisis in gun violence, that is just weasel-words on the road to making citizens defenseless and victims.<br/> Responsible physicians should promote responsible gun ownership.<br/> <br/> The recent mass shooting in Florida was in a gun-free zone, by a man who passed all background checks and waiting periods. The AMA is pursuing policies not in the best interests of either our patients to its communities, and being deceitful as well about it.
Regardless of the merits of the recommendations by the AMA regarding guns and violence in our society, the timing of this and the associated comments suggesting that the Orlando shootings were in some way related to "gun control" is a reprehensible politically motivated misrepresentation of the circumstances. It makes acts of war (regardless of the mental derangements or misguided reason for such) and other societal misuse of firearms and violence appear in some way equivalent. Cars that crash as a result of a disaster like an earthquake or flash flood and those that crash as a result of drunk drivers would never be looked at in composite manner in an effort to understand or prevent either. As medical scientists, physicians would never intentionally co-mingle data like this, and the AMA should avoid this in its proclamations and initiatives.
the CDC has the information that confirms that the shooting sports are the safest activity that kids and adults can participate in. When are we going to object to the way data is twisted to form an unsubstantiated conclusion. Gun free zones only allow the criminal the opportunity to kill indiscriminately. Criminals will not respect the law or any attempt to control them. Report actual facts, not the distorted facts that the media uses to promote their agenda.
You are simply ignorant. There are 33,000 plus deaths per year due to firearms. Guns are one of the top three causes of death for young people in this country. In addition to the deaths there are upwards of 80,000 injuries, and new technology using lasers has shown that there are countless incidence of gun violence that remain unreported to anyone. YES, gun violence is clearly a public health problem. More drivel from a gun nut who cannot accept that guns are not an answer to everything!
I am glad the AMA has finally taken this step. But it has taken far too long to do so! Thanks for taking this step, I only hope it does some good. Philip M. Kober, JD, MD, PhD
What the AMA is advocating for is precisely what I was thinking before its statement was made public. Physicians have a responsibility of enhancing public health and the fact that research conducted by the CDC has been outlawed is disgraceful. Conducting research does not mean advocating for gun control. It means testing hypotheses and using the evidence-base generated by it in developing prevention strategies. Just like HIV/smoking/LDL cholesterol as adverse public health causal factors, we should treat gun possession and use the same way. This is how a developed country with resources to conduct high level research needs to proceed. HIV is not a political issue and neither is LDL cholesterol. They are health issues and so is gun violence.
You could not be any more naive. You are wrong about auto accidents, for one. And there is evidence from every other first world country in the world that gun control works! What is reprehensible is people like you who out of your addiction to guns and your insistence that guns somehow solve everything, that nothing ever changes. We will once again predictably have more of these incidents until we finally get some sense. You are completely wrong in your views, and it is decidedly sickening!
I am Robert Block, MD, MPH and made the post just above.
More foolish junk from an ignorant person who is even willing to make up things to support his views. The Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended NO GUNS in the home when there are young children around, but people like you continue to twist and confuse the facts for your own purposes! We do not need your drivel!
Completely agree. The AMA is way out in left field as usual and becoming more and more irrelevant as a medical society. One reason why the vast majority of physicians in the USA<br/> are no longer members.


Show Comments (14)
Sep 20, 2018
Meaningful price transparency is necessary if patients are to make value-based care decisions in choosing reasonably priced, high-quality care.