Leading doctors group calls for automatic weapons ban after Las Vegas shooting
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The American College of Physicians issued a statement Monday labeling mass shootings a “serious public health issue” and calling for a ban on automatic and semi-automatic weapons in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

“We must acknowledge that lack of a U.S. policy to address gun violence is the reason we have much higher rates of injuries and deaths from firearms violence than other countries,” the group said in a statement. "Specifically, we call for a ban on the sale and ownership of automatic and semiautomatic weapons." 

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The organization said mass shootings in American “have become frequent and even common-place,” adding “something needs to change.”

“In light of the rising number of mass shootings, this is a serious public health issue that needs to be addressed immediately by Congress,” the group said.

The organization previously urged Congress to lift restrictions on studies on the effects of violence on public health and strengthen background checks after the June 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

The group’s comments come after a shooting at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas on Sunday night that killed at least 59 people and injured 527 others.

Congressional Democrats ramped up their calls for stricter gun control laws in the wake of the shooting, with Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDems mull big changes after Brazile bombshell After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Warren to GOP: Thoughts and prayers not enough after Texas shooting MORE (Conn.) calling on Congress to “get off its ass and do something.”

But the White House said Monday that now is not the time to debate over gun laws.

“There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters during a press briefing.