Congressional gun violence prevention roundtable
By the Office of Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D.
On Oct. 21, Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D., D-Palm Desert, convened members of congress, physicians, and public health experts for a problem-solving discussion regarding the epidemic of gun violence facing the nation. Ruiz led the discussion centered on approaching gun violence as a public health epidemic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, participated in the discussion as well.
“As physicians and public health experts, we are equipped with the knowledge, data, and firsthand experience to treat the public health crisis of gun violence,” said Ruiz, an emergency room physician. “We see what this epidemic looks like from the ground level, which is why it is important we declare together: this is our lane. Hearing the stories of doctors and public health experts is essential to fully understanding the public health threat we have on our hands. That is why we must come together, as we are doing today, to promote common-sense solutions to our nation’s ongoing gun violence epidemic.”
“The gun violence epidemic is a grave public health crisis that reaches into every community in America,” said Pelosi. “Our Congress and country are well-served by the values- and facts-based leadership that Congressman Ruiz brings, as a physician and a strong moral leader in the congress, to the fight to end this epidemic. It is an honor to join Congressman Ruiz, our colleagues in the congress and physicians and public health professionals for this vital conversation to accelerate our drumbeat of action to pass H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112, bipartisan common-sense background checks, to save lives. We will not go away until Senator McConnell takes up our legislation and our children are safe.”
“Gun violence is absolutely a public health crisis and we must use public health research to address it,” said Thompson. “That’s why I was honored to join House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Raul Ruiz, who is a physician himself, and other health care providers to call attention to this crisis. Dr. Ruiz’s leadership and the advocacy of his fellow doctors is a key part of our work urging Senate Majority Leader McConnell to pass H.R. 8, bipartisan legislation the House passed more than 230 days ago to help prevent gun violence and keep our communities safe.”
Physicians and public health experts, many of whom are on the front lines of the gun violence epidemic, called on the U.S. Senate to take up House-passed legislation that would reduce firearm deaths across the country. Last year, the National Rifle Association told doctors and medical professionals to “stay in their lane” after physicians advocated for gun violence research and prevention measures to save American lives. Today, physicians and public health experts declared together loudly that on the subject of gun violence prevention: “This is our lane.”