Senate again fails to pass commonsense gun legislation

Date: Jun 21 2016

Contact: Daniel Greenberg, 202-777-3913

Senate failure to pass commonsense gun violence legislation keeps Americans at risk, says APHA

Washington, D.C., June 21, 2016 — The American Public Health Association expressed sadness today at the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass commonsense gun violence legislation last night. Specifically, the Senate failed to advance APHA-supported amendments by Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would have expanded background checks to all gun sales and blocked terrorist suspects from buying firearms.

The votes were held one week after shootings in Orlando, Florida — the largest mass shooting in U.S. history — that killed or wounded more than 100 people.

"Simply put, the Senate missed yet another opportunity to make our country safer," said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. "Last week's shootings in Orlando are even more tragic because we know that gun violence is preventable."

Gun violence kills or injures more than 100,000 people in the U.S. each year. APHA supports a public health approach to stopping the epidemic, including:

  • requiring and strengthening criminal background checks for all firearm purchases, including all firearms sold at gun shows and on the internet;
  • providing adequate and unrestricted funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other scientific agencies to research the causes of gun violence and develop prevention strategies;
  • expanding the collection and analysis of data related to gun violence and other violent deaths by increasing the funding for CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System
  • reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines; and
  • preventing known or suspected terrorists from purchasing a gun.

"Some of these measures are absolute no-brainers that the vast majority of Americans support," Benjamin said. "Ninety percent of our nation supports background checks on people purchasing firearms from gun shows, yet some in Congress continue to refuse to support this overwhelming majority opinion.

"We know that every day Congress fails to pass protective laws, 300 more people will be killed or injured by gunfire. Yesterday’s votes sent yet another message that some of our elected officials are unwilling to create a safer America."

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