We applaud the letter sent to President Joe Biden Feb. 26 by U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and Lucy McBath, D-Ga., urging him to appoint a national director for gun violence prevention and create an interagency task force to reduce firearm injuries in the U.S.
We support these short-term actions as a springboard to the comprehensive, long-term public health-based strategy the country needs to accomplish the representatives’ ambitious goal of reducing injuries by 50% in the next decade: a National Bureau for Firearm Injury Prevention.
Firearm injury is a complex, multifaceted problem that includes mass shootings, suicides, homicides and accidental shootings. Halving firearm injuries will require a robust research program coordinated with development and incentivization of new safety technologies and an ample program of public education. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration used this formula to reduce motor vehicle deaths by two-thirds.
The concept of a federal bureau dedicated to saving lives has been endorsed by five Washington state medical professional organizations, grassroots firearm injury prevention groups around the country and several Washington state legislators.
We urge our state leaders to support the creation of a federal agency as the necessary long-term strategy to prevent firearm deaths in the decades to come.
Gregory Engel, M.D., MPH, Seattle, National Steering Committee on Firearm Injury Prevention, Doctors For America; Renee Hopkins, Seattle, CEO, Alliance for Gun Responsibility; and Larry Wechsler, Edmonds, president, Washington CeaseFire