In light of the recent gun related tragedies and overall concern that mass shootings represent a real threat to the health of the American public, the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) wishes to affirm its support of efforts to prevent such unfortunate events. The United States has a great tradition of developing policies and programs balancing health care concerns and individual rights through dedicated, funded federal efforts, as exemplified in prior campaigns to decrease drunk driving, reduce cigarette smoking, encourage safe sexual practices, and, most recently, reduce use of opioids. It is our belief that similar united efforts can be effectively employed to decrease unnecessary deaths from gun violence while retaining Second Amendment freedoms for those who choose to exercise this right safely.
As an organization of surgeons on the front line of caring for these victims of violence, SAGES encourages legislators and their constituents to support the following:
- Enforcement of current gun laws and background checks.
- Scientific study of gun violence and contributors to shootings.
- Evaluation of policies that have proven both effective and ineffective at controlling violence with legislation crafted around the findings.
- Significantly enhanced access to mental health care accompanied by the ability of mental health physicians to limit access to weapons where appropriate.
- Education of the public on safe practices for the use and storage of firearms.
- Enhanced safety technology in weapons outside of military battlefields to minimize accidental and mass shooting events.