Should Physicians Treat Gun Violence as a Public Health Threat?

October 18, 2017

The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas was the largest in modern US history, with 58 people dead and more than 500 injured. This horrific event has once again highlighted gun violence and ignited a debate about whether physicians should wade into the national discussion on gun control.

On the one hand, a group of editors, publishing in the Annals of Internal MedicineJAMA, the New England Journal of Medicine, and PLOS Medicine, shared a list of ways in which healthcare professionals can use their skills and voices to address gun violence as a public health threat.   

On the other hand, a suggestion in a recent Medscape essay suggesting that physicians should not own guns drew more than 300 hostile comments from Medscape readers, many of them angrily stressing that gun ownership is a Second Amendment right.

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