New AMA President Calls for More Funding for Gun Safety
During his inaugural speech at the American Medical Association's annual meeting yesterday, newly-elected AMA President Dr. Richard Corlin called on Congress to provide more funding to the CDC to track gun-related homicides, suicides, deaths and injuries (AMA release, 6/20). Corlin said, "There is an epidemic and it's an American epidemic of handgun violence." In 1998, the last year for which statistics are available, there were 30,708 gun-related deaths and 64,484 gun-related injuries in the United States. During that year, guns were the "second-leading cause of injury-related deaths in the [nation], trailing only auto accidents." Corlin also called for more research into strategies to reduce accidental shootings, including the effectiveness of trigger locks and how young people obtain weapons (Tanner, AP/Boston Globe, 6/21). He added, "Our goal is to help cure an epidemic, not to win a victory over some real or imagined political enemy" (AMA release, 6/21).
Some physicians are questioning whether Corlin's statements will give the perception that the "usually cautious" AMA is "opposing the right to bear arms." Dr. Robert Woolley, a member of both the AMA and the National Rifle Association, said, "Nobody disputes that people dying and being injured from gunshot wounds is a terrible problem. The dilemma is that groups such as the AMA ... are making very simplistic assumptions that the solution is more gun control." NRA research coordinator Paul Blackman said that Corlin's requests are a "smokescreen," and that the AMA is "delving into gun control" (AP/Boston Globe, 6/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.