Contact: Michele Late, 202-777-2488
Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association
Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2019 – “The American Public Health Association expresses its extreme sadness for this weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. We offer our deepest sympathies to the victims and families of these and all other recent unconscionable acts of gun violence and gratitude to our first responders.
This senseless loss of life is all too common in the United States. For the families, friends and communities of these victims, this pain will never pass, just as it will not pass for the loved ones of the thousands of other people who have died from gun violence in the U.S. in recent months. Even one mass shooting is too many, and we have seen more than 250 of them this year. The time for this to end is now.
As the nation comes together to mourn this tragic loss of life, we must also come together in a call to action. Gun violence is preventable. Our lawmakers must act.
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which will require checks for all gun purchases, keeping firearms away from people who are legally prohibited from owning them. The House also included funding in its version of the fiscal year 2020 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill for gun violence prevention research, which will allow scientists to determine the best ways to prevent and address gun violence.
We call on legislators in the Senate to immediately follow the lead of their colleagues in the House and pass these critical public health measures. But we must go further. We call on Congress to reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines that expired in 2004. To delay any longer will only mean more devastating and needless loss of life. Failure to act is unacceptable.
APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public's health. Visit us at www.apha.org.