Pediatricians advocate for gun control laws

April 13, 2018 08:48 AM

A new voice is joining the gun control debate -- pediatricians. 

Pediatricians, including some in the Rochester area, say more than 70 kids are hurt or killed by guns every day. They want Congress to change gun policies in the United States.

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The group is calling on federal lawmakers to allocate $50 million for public health research into firearm safety and injury prevention.

In 1996, the Dickey Amendment prevented the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from performing or paying for gun violence research. 

After the shooting earlier this year in Parkland, Florida, pediatricians say it's time that rule is changed. They support a ban on assault weapons and a bill that would restrict the sale of semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines to people 21 and older.

Whether you are for gun control or against it, both sides agree there is a problem.

Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a pediatrician in UR Medicine's Emergency Department, was among hundreds of pediatricians who visited the nation's capital earlier this week advocating for common sense gun reform. 

"It just seems like this is such a clear public health issue," Dr. Murray says "Pediatricians are all about preventative medicine so this seems like something we can certainly advocate for on behalf of the health of our children."

On the other end of the debate is Ken Mathison, the Monroe County chairman of Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE). He says this is a complex problem, and many things are contributing to it, but access to weapons is not one of them.

"It's a multifaceted thing," Mathison says. "Everybody has to get together and decide what to do about it, but gun control is not the answer."

Dr. Murray reiterated she and others aren't trying to take away any Second Amendment rights, but after seeing so many children impacted by gun violence, she says it was time to speak up. 

As for gun rights advocates like Mathison, many feel this has more to do with mental health -- not gun ownership.


Kaci Jones

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