In Gun Debate, Physicians Edge Closer to Front Lines

Joe Cantlupe, December 20, 2012

A nearly palpable uproar continues over gun violence in the aftermath of the mass killings in a Newtown, CT elementary school last week. This was the latest bullet-induced atrocity and among the most horrific in recent memory, as the majority of those killed were young children.

As everyone tries to examine the whys behind the tragedy, physicians are moving closer to the front lines of the debate, with mass murder becoming a chronic condition in this country.

Indeed, even as authorities continue to gather whatever information they can on the Newtown shooting, the American Medical Association has been involved in heated litigation 1,000 miles away in Florida. There the debate is over whether physicians can take steps to prevent guns in homes if they feel it's necessary.

Who can say when the level over gun violence is suitably horrific that we have had enough? Maybe the latest uproar over the loss of such young and innocent lives is the threshold.

The caskets are so small as to remind us how much life was missed. Surely, concerted outrage is rife, as President Obama has supported a plan by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA) to introduce legislation to reinstate an assault weapons ban. He has also appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead a group to conduct an in-depth examination of the country's gun issues.

As in many of these cases, gun control is only part of the debate, as AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, acknowledges that some may question whether "physicians missed an opportunity to protect the public from individuals who might perpetuate such actions."

Joe Cantlupe Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.Twitter

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