Minnesota's largest physicians' organization urges action on gun control
Minnesota's largest group of physicians is calling on policymakers at the state and federal levels to take measures to prevent gun violence.
The Minnesota Medical Association entered the national debate on gun control Thursday with a statement urging action on what it decribes as an epedimic of gun violence. The association says it supports "common-sense changes" to gun laws that allow for responsible gun ownership, including expanded background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines.
“The topic of gun violence has been deliberated by the MMA many times over the years,” said Dr. Randy Rice, chair of the organization's board. “We felt, as do many other organizations, that after the Parkland shooting it was time to formally call this for what it is – a public health crisis.”
The association has 10,000 members, representing about a third of all doctors in Minnesota. Its board includes physicians from Mayo Clinic.
Here is the full statement from the MMA:
Gun violence and firearm-related accidents kill more than 30,000 Americans each year. In Minnesota, there were more than 400 firearm-related deaths in 2016. The recent and relentless mass shootings, as well as the daily toll associated with gun violence and accidents, demand a response.
The Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) considers gun violence a public health crisis and calls on policymakers at the state and national levels to step up and protect our health and safety. The MMA supports common-sense changes to gun laws that will promote safe and responsible gun ownership, including criminal background checks on all purchases and transfers/exchanges of firearms; enforcement of laws that will hold sellers accountable when they sell firearms to prohibited purchasers; investment in improved data collection, analysis, and research on firearm injury prevention; and, a renewal and strengthening of the assault weapons ban, including banning high-capacity magazines.
The MMA also renews its call for improved access to and coverage of comprehensive mental health services. Most individuals with mental illness are not violent. It is important, however, to encourage and support the identification of individuals at risk for violence or self harm. Physicians and other health care providers also have a responsibility to talk to patients about responsible firearm ownership and safe storage in the home.
Few threats to our health and safety can be eliminated, but failure to intervene in the face of this significant epidemic is not an option.
Cover photo: This week's March For Our Lives student protest outside the Capitol building in St. Paul / Flickr via Fibonacci Blue