AAFP Praises Fix Gun Checks Act

Friday, June 17, 2016

Leslie Champlin
Senior Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 6252

LEAWOOD, Kan. — The American Academy of Family Physicians today welcomed the introduction of the Fix Gun Checks Act (S 2934), proposed by New York Sen. Charles Schumer.

In a letter to Sen. Schumer, Robert Wergin, MD, board chair of the AAFP, praised the legislation, saying it was an important step in addressing gun violence in America.

The bill would require states to establish a plan for “maximum coordination” with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in reporting the names of people identified as prohibited from buying a gun. The bill also would prohibit the transfer of a firearm from an unlicensed importer, manufacturer or dealer to another person who is not licensed, with exceptions that include a loan or gift between family members or a temporary transfer at a shooting range or while hunting.

“There is no single answer to the prevention of this kind of violence,” Wergin wrote in the letter. Citing AAFP policy on prevention of gun violence, he said, “Part of our response to the violence of Orlando and elsewhere reasonably should include a careful consideration of who has access to the destructive firearms that are necessary to wreak such havoc. The policies of the AAFP support the effort to close the so-called “gun show loophole” that your proposed legislation, the Fix Gun Checks Act (S 2934), is designed to do.”

In addition, AAFP has joined other medical organizations and the American Bar Association in calling for an elimination of the ban on federal funding for research on gun-related violence. Such research will provide evidence-based solutions, Wergin wrote.

“We appreciate your leadership in helping reduce the likelihood of these terrible crimes by your legislation to improve the national system of background checks for gun purchases and to apply the requirement for background checks to the purchase of guns in all venues,” Wergin concluded. “It is not the solution to the prevalence of gun violence, but it is an important part of that solution.”

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 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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