On the evening of October 1, 2017, the deadliest mass shooting occurred in US history. These were our friends, neighbors, patients, and colleagues who were senselessly massacred. We are grateful to first responders, tasked with protecting thousands from gunfire. We thank health care providers at local hospitals doing their best to save lives ravaged by bullets.
- 59 – the number of lives lost in Las Vegas on Sunday night
- 500+ – those injured by a single man armed with a cache of powerful and deadly weapons
- 42 – the number of firearms found in the hotel room and the home of the shooter
The reality is that too many physicians struggle to save too many lives lost to the devastating effects of gun violence every day. This is not about a lone shooter in Las Vegas or in Newtown Connecticut. This is about a public health crisis as urgent as Ebola virus or drunk driving. Unless we do something now to keep our children and families safer from gun violence, the death toll will continue to rise and more Americans will suffer the loss of loved ones. We must mourn but we should not be quiet.
- 93 – the number of lives that gun violence claims on an average day
- 33,000 – annual deaths attributable to gun violence
- 114,994 – people in America are shot in a year
How many more lives must we lose? As health care providers, we can save lives by tackling gun violence through effective public health approaches: investigating the causes of such tragedy and helping to develop solutions that lead to policy changes. As health care professionals and public health researchers, we use well funded evidenced-based research to save lives from car accidents and other traffic fatalities; reduce smoking-related illnesses; and prevent heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other major health challenges.
We call on Congress to #EndTheBan on the CDC and the NIH from conducting federally funded scientific research on gun violence. We call on Congress to appropriate funds to the CDC and the NIH to conduct this life saving research, just as we do for other preventable injuries in the United States.
As physicians and medical students, we are united in standing with thousands of healthcare professionals in every state in this country to say enough is enough. We must stop the carnage of gun violence. We call on Congress to take action now.
Justin Lowenthal, Medical Student (MD/PhD) at Johns Hopkins University
Nina Agrawal, MD
David Berman, DO
Sanjeev Sriram, MD, MPH