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ABS Statement on Gun Violence

Jul. 21, 2022 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney, 215-568-4000

The United States is in a crisis of gun violence. Murder, suicide, accidental injury, and mass shootings are occurring every day, at a rate never previously seen and unmatched by any other country in the world.

Gun violence is a public health crisis that too often leads to fatal outcomes. Survivors need significant resources including emergency care from surgeons, rehabilitation, and long-term care which often requires not just physical but also psychological support. Diplomates of the American Board of Surgery (ABS), particularly those who specialize in trauma and critical care, are directly involved in both the urgent and long-term treatment of the consequences and complications of gun violence.

"Firearms-related injuries devastate not only individuals, but families, communities, and society as a whole," said ABS Trauma, Burns and Surgical Critical Care Board Chair Dr. Krista L. Kaups. "This epidemic demands urgent action."

The ABS supports measures that could prevent future gun violence, including:

  • Stronger background checks and required licensing, item registration and safety training for individuals purchasing firearms.
  • "Red-flag laws," which prevent individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any kind of firearm.
  • Enactment of the "Protecting Our Kids Act" (H.R.7910), which would raise the age for purchasing assault rifles to 21, prohibit straw gun sales, ban untraceable "ghost" guns, require the safe storage of firearms, close the bump stock loophole and limit the capacity of ammunition magazines.

In addition, the ABS supports the recommendations made by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Firearm Strategy Team (ACS-COT FAST), which include the above-outlined measures as well as recommendations around safe firearm storage, safety innovation, public health research funding for firearm injury, and more

The frequency and scale of mass shootings requires immediate action in order to prevent avoidable deaths and injuries caused by gun violence. The ABS echoes the statement by the ABMS; "The escalating number of gun-related deaths from mass shootings, accidental firings, death by suicide, and violent crimes across the nation must be addressed, and gun violence must be acknowledged as the serious public health crisis that it is."