WASHINGTON, D.C.—In response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,” Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians released the following statement:
“On behalf of ACEP and its 38,000 emergency physician members, I applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 8, the 'Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.' This legislation requires a federal background check to be completed for any transfer or sale of a firearm and is consistent with ACEP policy on firearms and injury prevention.
“As emergency physicians, our highest priority is ensuring the health and safety of the public. We are saddened and appalled by the current level of intentional and accidental firearms injuries in our country. Mass shootings have inflicted unimaginable horror on our communities, friends, families, and loved ones. Still, hundreds of other firearm-related injuries and deaths occur every day, and their toll upon our communities and families is no less tragic. Emergency departments across the U.S. bear witness to this epidemic as we treat victims of firearms-related violence every single day.
“Expanding background checks to cover all firearms purchases is a practical step towards addressing our nation’s problem with firearms-related violence, and is an effort supported by most Americans. In fact, ninety percent of Americans support expanding and strengthening the background check system. ACEP policy supports universal background checks for firearms transactions, and we should do all we can to ensure that individuals who cannot pass a background check do not have access to a firearm.
“We do not claim to have all the answers needed to solve this ongoing public health crisis; however, we do believe that reasonable, commonsense, and important steps must be taken to address firearms violence.”