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SGIM Statement on Gun Violence 2022

Statement by Society of General Internal Medicine on Gun-Related Violence
Approved by SGIM Council
March 1, 2013

Gun violence is a public health crisis; gun safety is a public health imperative.

SGIM members are general internists, but we are also teachers, researchers, and promoters of the public health. In each of these roles, we see the deadly consequences of gun-related injuries. We also see opportunities to reduce preventable death and injury due to firearms:

1. Clinical Practice: Medical and mental care and counseling are key to helping patients lessen their own and their family’s risk of gun-related injury. To reduce both deranged acts of mass violence and individual gun violence, access to mental health services must improve dramatically and rapidly. We also oppose government intrusion into the patient-doctor relationship that restricts health-related discussions of firearms and their health consequences.

2. Education: To support such healthcare and public health, we propose education and training for physicians and other health professionals on the epidemiology of gun violence and risk factors for gun-related injuries and death. We also support training in gun violence prevention, and in skills for dealing with the consequences of gun violence.

3. Research: Gun violence is a major national cause of morbidity, mortality, and health impairment nationwide. As with any disease or other public health risk, we strongly support federal funding for studies into the sources of gun violence, injury and death - and strategies to prevent them.

4. Public Health: Certain guns and certain mentally ill individuals are inherent threats to public health. Gun ownership must require universal background checks and should have appropriate restrictions to protect the public health and safety. Sales of assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines, armor-piercing bullets, and other such weapons should be banned outside a military or analogous setting.