For decades, the American Nurses Association has called on lawmakers to come together and pass common sense policies that prevent gun violence and protect Americans. Nurses have pushed for action to enhance our background check system, enact mandatory waiting periods, prevent potentially dangerous individuals from getting guns, and allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research gun violence and firearm injury prevention.
These calls were strengthened and renewed at our 2016 Membership Assembly and took on new urgency in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month. And while it is frustrating that we made appeals after Sandy Hook, Aurora, Orlando, Las Vegas, and so many other horrific mass shootings, with nothing done to stop this violence, nurses will not stop calling for action.
ANA, along with 95 other organizations, recently called on Congress to establish a bipartisan National Commission on Mass Shootings. We are also actively supporting Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy’s Gun Violence Research Act (H.R. 1478). This bill repeals the current provision that prohibits the CDC and other federal agencies at the Department of Health and Human Services from researching gun violence and firearm injury prevention. This bipartisan bill is a first step in working toward preventing gun violence.
Nurses have a unique perspective on this issue and their input is needed now more than ever. We call on you to help lend your voice to this important issue. Please send a message to your legislators letting them know you support Congresswoman Murphy’s legislation, and be sure to include your own perspective on this critical issue. ANA is committed to working with our partners on and off Capitol Hill to bring nurses’ dedication and ideas forward to help solve this issue. We stand together in calling for meaningful gun violence prevention and increased dialogue with our communities to take action against hate and death.
Our thoughts remain with the victims, students, parents, teachers, first responders and the medical professionals in Parkland, Florida, as they work to heal. ANA is also cognizant of the impact these mass causality shootings have on survivors of gun violence and the continued challenges of recovery that they face. The Parkland community has mobilized around their grief and anger to spark a national conversation, which we have not seen in quite some time. This is a conversation that is long overdue.
Gun violence like this is far too familiar in the United States, and, like so many others, nurses are dealing with the consequences. On average, there are more than 35,000 gun deaths per year in the United States, including almost 13,000 homicides. Even more outrageous is that nearly seven children under the age of 19 are killed with guns every day in the United States. Nurses are being called to care for victims of not only mass shootings but homicides, suicides and accidental shootings in clinics and emergency departments throughout the country. It is because of this that so many nurses and their families are joining the students, parents and teachers at Stoneman Douglas by standing up and saying #NeverAgain.
“We (nurses) are on the front lines of every mass shooting, which over time has become deadlier and more frequent. We have a duty to advocate for the safety of all through stricter gun laws and research the growing trend of gun violence” said Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of ANA.