AMA endorses assault weapons ban

AMA endorses assault weapons ban
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The country's largest physician group on Tuesday endorsed a ban on assault weapons as part of a sweeping package of measures aimed at combating the epidemic of gun violence.

Under pressure from members, delegates from the American Medical Association (AMA) took a strong stance on gun control measures at the group’s annual policy conference. 

The group also endorsed a ban on bump stocks, which are mechanisms that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire more rapidly. Bump stocks came under scrutiny last year after a gunman used them in the shooting in Las Vegas that left 59 people dead. 

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The federal government has proposed regulations regarding bump stocks, but states have been moving forward with their own bans.

AMA’s outgoing President David Barbe said the group has an urgent need to act on what it sees as a serious public health issue. 

“The AMA must not back down from addressing gun violence,” Barbe said in a speech.

AMA in the past has supported efforts to ban assault weapons, and has also endorsed policies like waiting periods and better funding for mental health services, he said.

But recent high-profile shootings like Parkland, Fla.; Santa Fe, Texas and Las Vegas have spurred AMA to take a stronger stance, Barbe said.

“The fact that this problem continues to worsen has spurred a new sense of urgency in this house even while Congress fails to act,” he said.

AMA delegates at the meeting adopted other gun-related proposals. For example, they endorsed banning the possession of guns and ammunition by people under 21.

They also agreed to push for legislation that would allow relatives of suicidal people, or those who have threatened imminent violence, to seek court-ordered removal of guns from homes.