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Healthcare Industry Embraces Firearm Safety Law

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

Congress passed and President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, legislation that will provide more funds for red flag programs, close the “boyfriend loophole,” and expand background checks on Americans age 18-21 years who want to buy a gun.

“While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives,” the president said before signing the legislation.

The package also includes funding for school safety resources, school-based supportive services, and expanded access to telehealth for mental and behavioral health needs.

Various healthcare organizations welcomed this action. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) described it as “a reasonable, commonsense compromise on firearm injury prevention legislation.”

“We recognize there is no cure-all that will prevent all firearms violence and that we still have much work to do, but this is a critical first step that, above all, will save lives,” said ACEP President Gillian Schmitz, MD, FACEP. Schmitz noted how emergency providers “bear witness to this public health crisis and see firsthand how deeply it affects the lives of our patients, their families, and the communities we serve.”

American Academy of Pediatrics President Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP, said the bill “represents a significant step forward, but the work is far from over.” American Medical Association President Jack Resnick, Jr., MD, said “this law isn’t a panacea, and more work remains to prevent firearm violence, but it is an important, critical step in the right direction.”

The American College of Physicians praised lawmakers for including concepts from a 2018 policy paper in the legislation. Other groups, including the American Hospital Association and the Emergency Nurses Association, also voiced their support during the legislative process.

For more on this and other related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of ED Management and Hospital Employee Health.