In the face of Republican inaction, the American Medical Association endorses a common-sense agenda to prevent gun violence.
Frustrated by the lack of political action to combat the "disease" of gun violence in America, the country's largest physician organization this week endorsed broad new proposals to strengthen gun regulations.
Delegates at the American Medical Association annual meeting voted to oppose arming teachers, to support making guns illegal to purchase for anyone under the age of 21, and to push for laws that allow family members to seek court-ordered removal of guns from the homes of suicidal people or those who have threatened imminent violence, among other measures.
And even though many AMA members are gun owners and supporters, they voted overwhelmingly (446-99) to support banning "the sale and ownership to the public of all assault-type weapons, bump stocks and related devices, high-capacity magazines, and armor piercing bullets."
"It has been frustrating that we have seen so little action from either state or federal legislators" on guns, said AMA president Dr. David Barbe. "The most important audience for our message right now is our legislators, and second most important is the public, because sometimes it requires public pressure on the legislators."
While AMA representatives didn't specifically call out Republicans or the NRA, the vote still represents a strong rebuke to conservative policy priorities on guns. And it has major political implications in the wake of recent high-profile gun massacres that have been met with complete inaction from a Republican White House and Republican Congress.
Physicians are all too familiar with the ravages of gun violence — which are so pervasive that the AMA considers it a public health crisis.
“In emergency rooms across the country, the carnage of gun violence has become a too routine experience," Barbe stressed. "Every day, physicians are treating suicide victims, victims of domestic partner violence, and men and women simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It doesn’t have to be this way, and we urge lawmakers to act."
The intersection of guns and health care is undeniable. As the Firearm & Injury Center at the University of Pennsylvania concluded, "Healthcare providers thus have a vital role in preventing firearm injuries and their impact on patients, families and communities."
To date, Democrats across the country have been consistently calling for the passage of common-sense gun laws, only to be thwarted by the GOP, which protects the NRA's radical agenda.
The NRA even adamantly opposes allowing doctors to have gun safety discussions with their patients. Yet it's well-documented that having a gun in the home increases the likelihood of gun injuries and death.
The AMA move comes amid growing cultural pressure to fight back against the GOP and the NRA.
Just this week, it was revealed that the gun group has quietly scrubbed from its website the "ratings" it used to give politicians based on their support for the gun agenda. As one NRA employee told the Washington Post, "I think our enemies were using that" to attack pro-gun politicians.
For years, Republicans in particular have tended to advertise their "A" rating from the NRA with pride. But as the movement for gun reform grows, that association is becoming more and more toxic to the GOP.