American College of Surgeons calls for strategy to address firearm violence public health crisis

An ACS panel's recommendations include background checks, firearm education and training, safe storage, red flag laws, and addressing mental health issues


By Leila Merrill

WASHINGTON — Following the shooting deaths of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, leaders of the American College of Surgeons are calling for bipartisan solutions to reduce the deaths and serious injuries from firearm violence.

Guns became the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2020, according to an analysis of CDC data.

An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24.
An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24. (Photo/Eric Gay/Associated Press)

During a news conference, ACS surgeons described steps that can be taken to reduce gun violence.

The ACS Committee on Trauma convened the Firearms Strategy Team in 2017 consisting of trauma surgeons, many of whom are firearm owners. They developed a strategy to reduce firearm injury, death, and disability. Their recommendations were first introduced in 2018 and were recently renewed.

The FAST recommendations cover 13 areas. They include background checks, registration, licensure, firearm education and training, safe storage practices, red flag laws, addressing mental health issues, and further research. The full article was published in the “Journal of the American College of Surgeons.”

“Firearm violence is a growing public health crisis that must be immediately addressed. This is a public health crisis, not a political debate. The American College of Surgeons is committed to crafting solutions that save lives and minimize preventable death,” said ACS Executive Director, Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS. “We are unwilling to wait for another tragedy to befall another community when we believe we have a series of actions that will have an impact.”

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