America’s Largest Doctor’s Group Calls for a Ban on Assault Weapons

The American Medical Association endorsed an array of policies for reducing the gun violence epidemic.

CherriesJD/Getty/iStock

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The biggest group of physicians in the US called for a ban on assault weapons this week, reiterating that gun violence is a serious public health crisis and decrying proposals by the Trump administration to arm school teachers.

Though many members of the American Medical Association support or own guns, the group voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to adopt nearly a dozen gun control measures during an annual policymaking meeting.  The proposals include prohibiting gun and ammo purchases by people who are younger than 21. “It has been frustrating that we have seen so little action from either state or federal legislators,” said outgoing AMA President Dr. David Barbe.

By way of a 446-99 vote, the organization also agreed to endorse a ban on assault-type weapons, bump stocks, high-capacity magazines, and armor piercing bullets. It also called for measures that would allow family members and law enforcement to ask courts to take away guns from a person who may be at high risk for committing violence.

This is not the first time that the AMA has backed such policies, but the association’s leaders said they felt compelled to go significantly further this year because of a string of recent school shootings, including the massacre in February in Parkland, Florida.

On Friday, survivors of the Parkland attack kicked off a national tour to draw attention to gun violence and register people to vote for gun safety policies. The “March for Our Lives: Road to Change” bus tour started in Chicago and will include 75 stops around the country. “We’re going to places where the NRA has bought and paid for politicians who refuse to take simple steps to save our lives,” the student leaders said in a statement.

Though the American medical community has long described gun violence as a public health threat, it remains the least-researched major cause of death in the United States, mostly because of decades-old legislation that suppressed federal funding for and study of gun violence. The AMA says nearly 40,000 people were killed by a gun in 2016, including suicides.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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