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Dear Ray,

Gun violence has killed about 240,000 Americans since the 9/11 attacks and has injured many more. I use this comparison because the toll gun violence takes in America is about equal to one 9/11 tragedy occurring each month. Gun violence creates adverse physical, emotional and economic consequences affecting personal lives, families, communities and businesses. Many supporters of anti-violence initiatives believe the incidence of gun violence can be significantly reduced by sensible interventions that would not infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners.

As the nation's debate on how to best address this problem heightens, I feel it's important to stand in support of efforts to address gun violence as a health care challenge. President Obama's executive order recently directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to resume research into the causes of gun violence and how it could be best prevented - research that had been stopped due to the efforts of the gun lobby. Objective and transparent examinations of the factors leading to gun violence are needed to gain an understanding of how to best address the problem. A data-driven approach to the problem is needed to see through the passions clouding the present debate.

Most Americans and many gun owners support universal background checks and curbs on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. These supporters believe that because guns are tools designed to be lethal, they should be subject to regulations at least as stringent as ones governing prescription drugs and medical devices, tools designed to enhance health but that present varying degrees of risk to patients. If you have a few minutes, check out the following links. And contact your federal and state elected officials ASAP to express your opinions on this important health care issue.

Curbing Gun Violence, Lessons From Public Health Successes, Journal of the American Medical Association

Silencing the Silence on Gun Research, Journal of the American Medical Association

United Physicians of Newtown

People magazine update on Newtown families affected by the tragedy


Ray Valek

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