Guns in America: Doctors say recent research shows gun violence should be addressed as a public health crisis

Guns in America
Guns in America(wpta)
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Indiana University Medical School Professor Dr. Gabriel Bosslet says physicians and scientists shouldn’t be afraid to advocate for change when it comes to guns in America. He has been vocal about the issue, especially in light of the recent mass shooting in Texas. He recently retweeted an article about treating gun violence as a health crisis. “The pandemic laid bare the fact that physicians and scientists do not use their voice enough to advocate and work for change,” he wrote. “Now is the time Gun safety is the issue.”

“A lot of us had our eyes open to the fact that if we’re not speaking up to those leaders who create policies and laws that govern public health in the United States, no one else is going to do that,” he says. “It’s not like we’re getting outside of our lane, it’s realizing that our lane is actually wider than what we thought before.”

Dr. Bosslet says he would like to see “even minor steps” toward legislating gun safety. “I’m not interested in taking away everyone’s guns. Guns are baked into the DNA of our country. We understand that is the case, but there are common sense things we can do,” he says. He is critical of the permitless carry law that passed during the recent legislative session in Indiana. He is a proponent of universal background checks, red flag laws, and waiting periods.

The article Dr. Bosslet retweeted from the Press Democrat featured Dr. Mark Shapiro, a hospitalist at Providence Health’s Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. ABC21 News spoke with Dr. Shapiro via Zoom from California. “This is an issue that demands our attention,” he says.

“Over the course of our careers, firearm conversations beyond the immediate management of trauma was not something that we discussed. It wasn’t something that we actively researched,” he says. He points to the Dickey Amendment of 1996. “We were not talking about this stuff in medical training or beyond. That’s a huge vacuum to leave, that’s a huge space to not have healthcare professional voices weighing in around safety, around safe storage, around advocacy as well,” he says. “When healthcare professionals find their voice on an issue, it’s a powerful and a compelling voice.”

Dr. Shapiro points to a recent article from the New England Journal of Medicine titled, “Crossing Lines — A Change in the Leading Cause of Death among U.S. Children.” The article says that “for more than 60 years, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of injury-related death among young people. Beginning in 2017, however, firearm-related injuries took their place to become the most common cause of death from injury.”

“This is a public health emergency,” Dr. Shapiro says. “We know that this is an issue that demands our attention.”

The National Rifle Association released a statement in response shortly after the tragedy in Texas: “Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific and evil crime. On behalf of our members, we salute the courage of school officials, first responders and others who offered their support and services. Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal. As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.”

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