American Medical Association Becomes Gun Control Advocate

The American Medical Association (AMA) on Tuesday endorsed the ban on assault weapons as part of a congressional package of measures meant to lower gun violence rate.

Reportedly, the AMA took a strong stance on gun control measures during the group’s annual policy conference after the leadership succumbed to the pressure from the members. The group also endorsed a ban on bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to become fully automatic. Bump stocks came under scrutiny last year after a gunman used them in the shooting in Las Vegas that left 59 people dead.

Although the federal government has proposed regulations regarding bump stocks, states have been moving forward with their own bans. The Hill reported that AMA’s outgoing President David Barbe said the group has an urgent need to act on what it sees as a serious public health issue.

“The AMA must not back down from addressing gun violence,” Barbe said in a speech.

AMA has supported in the past efforts to ban assault weapons, and has also endorsed policies like waiting periods and better funding for mental health services, he said. Barbe further noted that the recent high-profile shootings like Parkland, Florida, Santa Fe, Texas and Las Vegas have spurred AMA to take a stronger stance.

“The fact that this problem continues to worsen has spurred a new sense of urgency in this house even while Congress fails to act,” he said.

During the meeting, AMA delegates endorsed other gun-related proposals, like banning the possession of guns and ammunition by people under 21. The association also agreed to use its influence to push for legislation that would allow relatives of suicidal people or those who have threatened with imminent violence to themselves or others, to seek court-ordered removal of guns from their homes.

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