“We cannot remain silent”: Members of the Right Care Alliance Surgery Council demand action to address firearm violence
March 12, 2018 — The Structural Violence Working Group of the Right Care Alliance Surgery Council issued the following statement in response to the recent mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.
As surgeons, and as members of the Right Care Alliance, we recognize that firearm injury remains a serious public health problem in the United States. While recent events in Parkland, Florida have renewed public awareness of this problem, firearms are involved in deaths and injury on a daily basis across America. More than 35,000 people die each year and tens of thousands more are injured from firearms in the United States. As trauma surgeons and members of the Right Care Alliance, we witness the effect of guns and we want the killing and maiming to stop.
The Right Care Alliance is a coalition of health care providers, patients, families, and community activists committed to the advancement of equity and justice within the health care system. To that end, we cannot remain silent at this critical time, when our youngest citizens are bravely speaking out against the crisis of gun violence. We fully support those who call for legislative action aimed at curbing death and injury from firearms, and suggest the following measures:
- We support the repeal of the Dickey Amendment, whose language has created a chilling effect on federal funding available for the academic study of firearm injury and death.
- We call for a full ban on weapons of war in the hands of civilians, including assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
- We call for mandatory universal background checks on all firearm sales, private and public, in the United States.
- We recommend the raising the federal minimum age for firearm purchase to age 21.
These recommendations are made after full review and consideration of available evidence and medical literature. As health care practitioners, we practice evidence based medicine on a daily basis and feel that these recommendations represent an extension of our practice of medicine.