Tuesday, June 14, 2016

AMA House of Delegates Calls on Congress to Lift Ban on Firearms Research

Congress should lift a ban that effectively prohibits research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on gun violence as a public health hazard, declared members of the American Medical Association House of Delegates today in an emergency resolution approved in the wake of the mass shooting early Sunday morning at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.

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.”


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.