Internal medicine physicians lobby for passage of gun control legislation

ACP wants immediate action on gun control bill

The American College of Physicians released a statement supporting the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act intended to protect children, keeping schools safe, and reducing the threat of firearms violence, urging congress to pass the bill immediately.

In a procedural Senate vote to advance the bill, all Democratic and 14 Republican senators supported it, allowing it to be taken up by the full senate today. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the house will take up the legislation when it is passed by the senate.

In a letter that ACP sent to Senate leadership today, ACP strongly supports provisions in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that would provide for enhanced background checks for persons aged 18-21 seeking to purchase a firearm; better protect victims of domestic abuse by eliminating the “boyfriend exemption” that has allowed some persons with convictions for domestic violence or have recent restraining orders to buy firearms; help states create and sustain programs for crisis intervention orders, including “red flag” laws to temporarily remove firearms with due process if a court finds a person at imminent risk of using firearms to harm themselves or others; require more sellers of firearms to be federally licensed; create measures to end straw purchasers that circumvent background checks; and bolster the nation’s response to mental-health issues. ACP applauds the inclusion of critical funding for state crisis interventions and for community-based violence protection initiatives.

The organization also supports the provisions that call for expansion of telehealth mental health services for children and youth by requiring CMS to furnish the necessary guidance to states. In addition, ACP would also recommend increased funding for primary care clinicians for mental health training and has strongly supported legislation that would improve and expand the 988 system that would provide 24/7, free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.