The recent school shooting in Nashville has brought the public health crisis created by gun
violence very close to home. The physicians at the Nashville Academy of Medicine are appalled
by the tragedy, and our hearts break for the victims, their families, and their friends. We share in the pain of family members, neighbors, and coworkers directly affected by the terrible violence at The Covenant School, which moves us to recommit our efforts to prevent firearm injuries and deaths.
The Nashville Academy of Medicine is a nonpartisan group of physicians representing a broad spectrum of political views, including those who own firearms and those who do not. As physicians, we are bound by a common oath to respect and preserve life and to improve the health of patients.
We have direct experience in treating the physical as well as the psychological consequences of gun violence. As with other public health maladies, evidence-based interventions are needed for reducing deaths and injuries. Gun violence is the number one cause of death in children. Preventing gun violence is therefore no different than preventing and treating the most common causes of death in adults, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The Nashville Academy of Medicine urges the legislature to move beyond political differences to pass reasonable laws supported by epidemiological data. There is evidence that these measures save lives.
A) Recognize gun violence as a critical and preventable public health problem by:
1) Supporting community safety efforts regarding prevention of gun violence
2) Passing Red Flag laws to prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns
B) Establish a culture of gun safety by:
1) Reducing firearm access to youth and individuals at risk of misusing weapons
2) Overseeing the marketing and sales of guns and ammunition
3) Insisting on mandatory training and licensing for owners
4) Requiring accountability for safe and secure gun storage
C) Enact sensible gun laws, which reduce easy access to weapons by:
1) Requiring universal background checks without loopholes
2) Instituting waiting periods
D) Support gun violence research and increase access to mental health services
With the epidemic rise in shootings at schools, places of worship, and other public settings, and the proliferation of guns in the United States, deterrence alone is not working. We are also concerned about the availability of high-capacity assault weapons. We need the help of everyone, including responsible gun owners, to craft solutions to protect our community.
It is imperative to take reasonable measures to save lives. The time to act is now.
Nashville Academy of Medicine Board of Directors