For Immediate Release
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Task force recommendations on gun violence include key public health measures, heralds APHA

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

 

Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2013 – “The American Public Health Association commends the U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force for releasing a set of comprehensive policy recommendations today that follow evidence-based public health principles to address the growing crisis of gun violence facing communities across the country.

 

“Today’s proposal includes a range of sensible and critically needed measures to prevent gun violence, a leading cause of preventable death in this country, including restoring unrestricted funding to conduct research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the causes of gun violence and how to prevent it.

 

“The plan also takes important steps to close serious gaps in local, state and federal gun policies by banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, mandating background checks for all gun purchases and improving access to mental health care in this country, clarifying that doctors are not prohibited from discussing gun safety with their patients among other proposals. They hold tremendous potential to dramatically reduce the scourge of gun violence in neighborhoods across the country.

 

“The numbers are sobering. Every year, more than 30,000 people are killed in the U.S. from firearms at a cost of billions of dollars in health expenditures. Yet, we know that gun violence is not inevitable; it’s preventable. The violence that took place in Newtown, Conn., last year, and what batters our communities every single day, is an urgent public health issue. It is time we place the safety of our communities before political interests and work together to ensure evidence-based public health principles are at the heart of any efforts to reduce gun violence-related injury and death.

 

“APHA urges House leadership to support today’s recommendations and find a meaningful, sustainable solution to this public health crisis.”

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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.