For Immediate Release
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Senate defeat of background check measure discouraging, says APHA

Statement from Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association


Washington, D.C., April 17, 2013 – “The American Public Health Association is deeply disappointed in the failure of the U.S. Senate to move forward on bi-partisan, common-sense legislation today that would expand the requirement for background checks to most private gun sales. This important amendment, sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Patrick Toomey, R-Penn., aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the seriously mentally ill would have been a tremendous step toward assuring public health and safety from gun violence and preventing future national tragedies.


“It is truly a shame that the Senate squandered the single-best opportunity we have to make real progress in this country on reducing the toll of gun violence across all communities. Reducing gun violence should not be a political issue. It is a public health issue that must be dealt with. Gun violence is one of the leading causes of preventable death in our country and Congress must take a comprehensive public health approach to addressing this growing crisis. Universal background checks, one part of a comprehensive approach, are an important step in preventing violence in our urban centers and other communities like Newtown. Conn. For too long we as a nation have failed to take on this devastating problem in our communities and, unfortunately with today's inaction, our nation remains at grave risk of senseless violence.”


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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at