For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at (202) 777-2509 or mediarelations@apha.org .

Statement from APHA Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin on one-year anniversary of Newtown tragedy

Washington, D.C., Dec. 12, 2013 — “A year ago this week, 26 innocent lives were lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. This horrific act of gun violence caused irreparable pain to so many people, and since then more children and teachers have been victims in deadly school shootings.

“As a nation it’s time to say, ‘Enough, let’s put an end to this.’

“On the first anniversary of the Newtown tragedy, the American Public Health Association calls upon Congress to pass comprehensive, commonsense legislation to stop preventable gun violence — especially in our schools. This includes reforms that would expand the requirement for criminal background checks to all gun sales along with other policies aimed at reducing gun violence, such as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

“Just as importantly, we must put our schools in position to respond proactively in case of gun incidents. APHA supports legislation to bolster community and school-based prevention, early intervention strategies and preparedness training to protect our schools and communities in the event of an emergency.

“As a nation we should not ever have to witness heartbreak like we did last Dec. 14 in Newtown. Sadly, such gun violence will not diminish without the right safeguards in place to stop it. It’s up to us, from public health professionals to our leaders in Washington, D.C., to take a stand immediately.”

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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 www.apha.org.