AAFP Statement: Violence is a National Public Health Concern That Must Be Addressed

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Statement attributable to:
Jeffrey Cain, M.D.
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physicians expresses its grief and condolences to the community of Newtown, Conn., as they mourn the victims of an unspeakable act of violence.

“The AAFP recognize violence as a major public health concern. This tragedy highlights the need for action to counter the devastating toll it has on our society. It is time for our nation to have an honest and frank discussion on reducing both the tendency and capacity for violence in our society.

“As family physicians, we provide comprehensive care that focuses on prevention. The AAFP believes that the public health threat from violence should be similarly treated comprehensively and with a focus on prevention.

“Because the causes of violence in our society are multifactorial, prevention of violence must address all of its root causes, including the need for mental health care, violence in the media, firearm safety, and others. While we recognize that violence is related to a plethora of factors that must be addressed, we cannot ignore the roles that firearms so often play in these acts.

“The AAFP has longstanding support for strong and robust enforcement of existing laws and regulations regarding the manufacture, sale and possession of guns. The AAFP urges support of legislation that requires trigger locks and storing firearms locked away and unloaded. Additionally, the AAFP opposes private ownership of assault weapons.

“The AAFP supports efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of regulations, interventions, and strategies for preventing injuries and fatalities caused by firearms.

“As the nation continues to reflect on the tragedy in Connecticut and begins the discourse on how to lessen the staggering effects of firearm violence on families nationwide, the AAFP will continue its call for broad efforts to reduce violence as a public health concern, including reasonable firearm regulations and responsible firearm ownership.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Cain, contact Adam Lee, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5221, or alee@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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