Gun violence is a significant public health problem, according to members of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, and research should be conducted to better understand its sources and causes from a medical perspective so that it can be properly addressed.
That's the outcome of a passed resolution at the Pennsylvania Medical Society's annual House of Delegates meeting in Hershey on October 26-27 in which more than 200 physicians from across the state participated.
The issue was presented by the York County Medical Society.
"Unfortunately, gun violence claims 30,000 lives per year and injures many more across the country," says Bruce A. MacLeod, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and a practicing emergency medicine physician in Pittsburgh. "Equally unfortunate is the fact that gun violence research is grossly underfunded, and we don't understand all the reasons why it happens."
According to Dr. MacLeod, the lack of research makes it difficult to develop a successful plan to disrupt gun violence and thus work to address the issue through medical channels.
"Some studies suggest we spend as much as $100 billion a year on this problem including efforts of our criminal justice system," says Dr. MacLeod, "but very little is spent on research that could make a difference."
As such, members of the Pennsylvania Medical Society are urging politicians and the public to support research that looks at the incidence and prevalence of gun violence as well as its sources and causes.
"With more information, particularly from a public health point of view, we might be able to reduce deaths and injury caused by gun violence without disrupting the rights of gun owners and the intent of the Second Amendment," Dr. MacLeod concludes.
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