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Are medical societies developing a standard for gun injury prevention?
  1. M M Longjohn,
  2. K K Christoffel
  1. Mary Ann and J Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program, The Children’s Memorial Institute for Education and Research; Departments of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, The Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr K K Christoffel
 2300 Children’s Plaza #157, Chicago, IL 60614, USA;


Context: Following heightened gun violence in the 1990s, many medical societies in the United States adopted policies on the topic.

Objective: Identify points of firearm violence policy agreement among large medical organizations.

Design: Fourteen national medical societies—clinical focus, demonstrated interest in gun injury prevention, >2000 members—were selected for policy review in 2002. Policies were categorized on areas covered and items within these. Consensus areas were addressed by ⩾7/14 societies.Consensus items were included by ⩾7/14 societies, shared items by 5–6.

Results: There were five consensus areas: access prevention, gun commerce, research, public education, and clinical counseling. There were four consensus items: restricting gun access by enforcing existing laws, restricting access to all guns at the point of sale, restricting access to handguns at the point of sale, and creating a national database on gun injury and death. Shared items promote violence prevention, clinical education on risks of guns in the home, treating guns as consumer products, restricting gun access to children, bans on automatic weapons, and promoting trigger locks.

Conclusions: Large medical societies in the United States agree on key approaches for reducing gun injury mortality and morbidity. Future research will be needed to track the evolution of this emerging standard for physician action, which now includes the consensus areas and items. It promises to be, in effect, a medical standard of care for gun injury prevention. The United States experience may be useful to others working on gun injury prevention.

  • firearms
  • guns
  • policy

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