At a press conference held today in its Washington, D.C. office, leaders from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) spoke out following a week of mass shootings, including one in Uvalde, Texas, that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers and left many critically injured.
ACS Executive Director, Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, spoke first and then called up Ronald Stewart, MD, former ACS Medical Director of Trauma Programs and former Committee on Trauma Chair, and Eileen Bulger, MD, current ACS Medical Director of Trauma Programs. Both are trauma surgeons and CNTR Board members, and have seen first-hand what devastating injuries result from high-capacity firearms. Dr. Bulger outlined a set of solutions developed over several years of research and consideration by the ACS Firearm Strategy Team (FAST) since it first convened in 2017. The team engaged medical professionals — both gun owners and those who do not own guns — with the singular mission to develop nonpartisan, public health-based strategies to reduce firearm injury, death and disability.
Recommendations from FAST include background checks for all transfers and sales of firearms; firearm registration and maintenance of a nationwide electronic database; review of the National Firearms Act weapons classification system and reclassification of high-capacity, magazine-fed, semi-automatic weapons; mandatory firearm safety training; more robust federal resources for research that can glean additional evidence-based solutions, and more. Dr. Bulger stressed that with freedom comes responsibility, and it is past time for responsibility to be shouldered by those who sell and own firearms.
Other speakers at the event were Patrick Bailey, MD, a pediatric surgeon, and Jeff Kerby, MD, the incoming ACS Committee on Trauma Chair. All urged legislators to address this public health epidemic immediately with legislation implementing the proposed solutions that have already achieved consensus among a cooperative group of experts.
Watch the press conference on Youtube (Dr. Turner begins her remarks at the 21.43 minute mark)