“Reporting the news, not creating it”
Editors’ Note: We have received many passionate letters and articles in response to our articles on firearms safety. We have opted to publish a selection of these unsolicited letters here, as they reflect the opinions we’ve received. These opinions do not represent official positions of ACEP, nor are they representative of all opinions on this topic.
What is missing from this is the public health perspective in preventing these tragedies. In particular, it sure would have been nice for our emergency physician national organization to take a stand against the sale of automatic and semiautomatic weapons used in these mass shootings. ACEP has policies and statements advocating against texting while walking and against laws requiring mandatory reporting of certain injured patients in the ED to law enforcement to improve the health and safety of the public. Responding to and taking care of mass shooting victims is clearly important. More important to all of those whose loved ones have been murdered during these tragedies would have been the prevention in the first place. The fact that there is no such prevention statement listed in this ACEP correspondence seems odd and unfortunately suspicious for political motivation.
This is a shame that ACEP is even trying to have a debate on this issue. As emergency physicians who treat victims of gun violence, it’s pretty clear our position should be that we should be doing everything we can to ensure fewer gun deaths. The ecological data from other countries and from studies in the United States is clear, in spite of what Dr. Coppola is suggesting—where there are fewer firearms, there are fewer firearm deaths. If ACEP wants to consider his position that we should become an even more armed society, it only has to remember we are already far and away the most armed first-world country in the world and have more gun violence and gun deaths than any other such country. Coincidence? I think not.
Thanks to ACEP Now for acknowledging that there are two sides to this issue. But let me correct an error that has been endlessly perpetuated by those who wish to even further restrict firearm civil rights.
Congress did not prohibit firearm research at the CDC. I know. I was one of three medical doctors who testified before the House Appropriations Committee in March 1996. We showed the committee hard evidence of the CDC leadership’s overt gun control advocacy. It was that anti-civil rights advocacy that Congress quite reasonably prohibited, not firearm research.