Safe States Calls for Common Sense Policies to Prevent Gun Violence
In the wake of recent tragedies, Safe States issues a statement on gun violence prevention.
Safe States Calls for Common Sense Policies to
Prevent Gun Violence in the Wake of Tragedy
Statement from Rich Hamburg, MPA, Executive Director, Safe States Alliance
The Safe States Alliance is saddened by this past weekend’s senseless acts of violence in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. We extend our deepest condolences to the friends, families, and communities forever changed. But words without action are not enough!
Despite legitimate uses of guns and positive changes in safety practices, firearm injuries and deaths continue to be a major public health problem, accounting for nearly 40,000 deaths in 2017, a 40-year high. Firearm-related injury is preventable through a comprehensive public health approach that includes policy change as an essential part of the solution.
As a country we are long past overdue to support common sense policies that address gun registration, universal background checks, safe storage, firearm safety research, red flag laws, and banning most military-style assault weapons and high -capacity magazines. We must act now to put an end to the heartbreaking and unacceptable gun violence occurring across our country.
The Safe States Alliance – a national organization that reflects the interests and expertise of professionals on the front lines of injury and violence prevention – is deeply concerned about the adverse impacts of firearm-related injuries and violence. Each day, the people we serve in our states and communities must cope with the physical, social, mental, and financial costs associated with preventable self-inflicted, unintentional, and violent injuries from firearms.
A public health approach has been effectively used to reduce traffic deaths, decrease drownings, reduce childhood injuries, and fight deadly chronic and infectious diseases. By using a public health approach to injury and violence prevention, we can prevent firearm-related injuries.
Earlier this year, Safe States joined the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and 40 other public health leaders at a Firearm Injury Prevention Summit to identify a constructive approach to reduce injury, disability and death from firearm violence in the United States.
The group’s consensus-based action steps address the need to:
Recognize firearm injury as a U.S. public health crisis, and take a comprehensive public health and medical approach to address it
Research this public health crisis using a disease model, and call for research funding at federal and philanthropic levels commensurate with the burden of the disease on society
Engage firearm owners and communities at risk as stakeholders to develop firearm injury programs
Empower the medical community across all health care settings to act in the best interests of their patients in a variety of palpable ways: counsel patients on safe firearm storage; screen patients at risk for firearm injury or death; engage the community in addressing the social determinants of disease through hospitals and healthcare systems
Commit professional stakeholder organizations to ensure that these statements lead to constructive actions for improving the health and well-being of our nation.
The Safe States Alliance urges policymakers and other national, state, and local leaders to implement the recommendations in our 2019 Firearm Policy Statement. It is our collective responsibility to turn the tide of firearm-related violence in our country. Strong, insightful research is needed to inform sound, comprehensive policy. Join the Safe States Alliance in prioritizing safety by pursuing these critical next steps.