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ACP on firearm injury prevention: counseling, legislation needed

From the March 1998 ACP Observer, copyright 1998 by the American College of Physicians.

At a January press conference on firearm injury prevention, ACP called on physicians to counsel patients on handgun use and safety, support community actions to reduce firearm injuries and endorse legislative and regulatory measures to reduce firearm injuries.

The briefing was held in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club to coincide with the release of the Feb. 1 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, which featured three articles on firearm injury. The articles, which include an ACP position paper on the topic, discuss how gun violence in the United States is a public health threat of epidemic proportions and concludes that physicians need to play a more active role in preventing firearm injuries. Information for ACP's position paper came from a survey of internists and surgeons exploring physicians' attitudes toward firearms. The survey was co-funded by the Joyce Foundation and the Brain Injury Association.

Panelists at the press conference were ACP's Immediate Past President Christine K. Cassel, MACP; Annals of Internal Medicine Editor Frank Davidoff, FACP; and Deborah Leff, president of the Joyce Foundation.

ACP plans to create a task force to explore ways to follow up on the position paper's recommendations.

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