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

Monday, June 13, 2016

Statement attributable to:
Wanda Filer, MD, MBA
President, American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physicians expresses its grief and condolences to the community of Orlando, Florida, as they mourn the victims of the unspeakable acts of violence.

“The AAFP recognizes 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 emphasizes prevention. The AAFP believes that the public health threat from violence should be similarly treated comprehensively and with a focus on prevention.

“The causes of violence in our society are multifactorial, prevention of violence must address all of its root causes, including firearm safety, violence in the media, the need for mental health care, 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 weapons designed primarily to fire multiple (greater than 10) rounds quickly.

“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 Florida 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 threat, including reasonable firearm regulations and responsible firearm ownership.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Filer, contact Stephanie Wilken, 800-274-2237, Ext. 6053, or swilken@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).