AMSA was disheartened to learn that the leadership of the Virginia General Assembly concluded their special session on gun violence without considering a single bill this week. As a community of medical trainees passionate about protecting and improving the health of all Americans, AMSA was appalled at the complete lack of interest in dialogue around this critical public health issue. AMSA chapters attended a rally at the state capital in Richmond to push legislators to hold a floor vote on common-sense gun legislation. However, in less than two hours, leadership concluded the session without even engaging in a dialogue around this critical issue. AMSA’s Medical Students for Gun Safety Campaign co-chairs Vishnu Muppala and Mattie Renn expressed their disappointment:
[blockquote]”Today’s inaction of the Virginia General Assembly represents another failed opportunity to prioritize the lives and safety of American citizens. As future physicians, charged with treating and preventing harm in individuals and communities, this inability to generate productive discourse was incredibly disappointing and served as a reminder that we must continue to raise the alarm about the devastating impact of this public health epidemic.”[/blockquote]
Isaiah Cochran, M.D., pointed to the national implications of the events in Virginia:
[blockquote]“Virginia legislative leaders have turned their back on the victims of the tragedy in Virginia Beach, their families, and all Virginians. On a national level this is another example of why the US remains unable to address the issue of gun violence, because our legislators refuse to even have a candid conversation about this public health crisis. Without true legislative action, this crisis will persist for the foreseeable future.” [/blockquote]
Virginia legislators failed to protect the lives of all Virginians through common-sense gun legislation, including universal background checks, extreme risk protection laws, and local regulation of firearms in public. AMSA calls on Virginians to hold their legislators accountable for perpetuating the epidemic of firearm violence in the state. You can find contact info for your state senators and delegates here.