The resolution, which was co-sponsored by the AMA Section Council on Psychiatry, calls on the AMA to “immediately make a public statement that gun violence represents a public health crisis which requires a comprehensive public health response and solution.”
Importantly, the resolution encourages the AMA to lobby Congress to lift a ban approved by Congress in 1996 that prohibits the CDC from funding research that would “advocate or promote gun control”; that ban was an amendment to the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill passed that year, and the language has remained in each subsequent annual funding bill.
The resolution gathered support among AMA delegates soon after the firearms massacre in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The shooting, which left 49 people dead and many others injured, took place early in the morning of the day that AMA delegates were gathering for reference committee hearings, where reports and resolutions are debated before going before to the full House of Delegates.
By this morning’s vote, more than 50 state and medical specialty societies had signed on as co-sponsors to the resolution, including all of the member groups of the Section Council on Psychiatry.
APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said it was long past time to overturn the congressional ban on gun violence research at CDC.
“The massacre in Orlando is just the latest and most horrific instance in an epidemic of gun violence that calls for a comprehensive public health solution,” Levin said. “Last year, APA was one of seven physician organizations that called for policies to reduce firearm-related injuries and deaths. As physicians, we know that research is necessary to point us in the direction of common-sense solutions to this epidemic.”
More coverage of the AMA’s resolution on gun violence will appear in an upcoming edition of Psychiatric News.
For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Experts Discuss Efforts Required to Reduce Gun Violence.”