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ACS-COT Firearm Strategy Team (FAST)

13 recommendations based on public safety principles

Obtaining ownership

Principle: We believe those who are a danger to themselves or others should not be allowed to purchase or receive a firearm as a gift or as a transfer from another person.

  1. A robust and accurate background check in accordance with federal law for all purchases and all transfers of firearms.

Firearm registration

Principle: A firearm should be transferred with registration in accordance to federal law 18 U.S.C. § 922[g][1-9] just as other properties are, such as vehicles or a home. This would include the private sale and the transfer of property that is bequeathed from an estate or among family members.

  1. Firearm registration and the development/implementation of an electronic database for all registered firearms

Licensure

Principle: Certain classes of weapons with significant offensive capability are currently appropriately restricted and regulated under the National Firearms Act classification as class III weapons (eg fully automatic machine guns, explosive devices, and short-barreled shotguns).

  1. A formal reassessment of the firearms designated within each of the National Firearms Act classifications

Education and Training

Principle: Responsible firearm ownership and use comes with significant responsibility and understanding of safe handling, care, and use.

  1. Formal gun safety training that includes 4 vital safety rules for all new gun owners and hunter safety and safe gun handling education.
  2. Direct adult supervision in the use of firearms for children <12 years. Indirect supervision for children between 12-18 years (if not state regulated).

Safe storage  

Principle: Owners who do not provide reasonable, safe firearm storage should be held responsible for adverse events related to discharge of their firearm(s).

  1. Owners provide safe and controlled storage of their firearms. Those who do not should be held responsible for adverse events related to discharge of their firearm(s).

Mandatory reporting/risk mitigation (Red Flag laws)

Principle: For individuals who are deemed an imminent threat to themselves or others, firearm ownership should be temporarily or permanently restricted based on due process.

  1. For those deemed an imminent threat to self or others, programs to remove firearms from such persons should be standard as is done in Extreme Risk Protection Order policies, Red Flag laws, and federal law. Require specific due process measures for removal and return of firearms.
  2. Treat mass shootings as terrorism; support/encourage domestic law-enforcement efforts and strategies.

Safety innovation and technology

Principle: Firearm ownership should be made safer through the use of innovative technology such as that used in automobile safety.

  1. Develop firearm technology to significantly reduce the risk of self-harm, prevent unintentional discharge, and prevent unintended use by someone other than the registered firearm owner.

Funding for public health research

Principle: Research to understand health conditions underpins the modern practice of medicine and is essential to improve care and develop effective interventions for all health care conditions.

  1. Federally fund research for firearm injury and injury prevention at a level commensurate with the burden of the disease without restriction.
  2. Conduct research in a bipartisan manner. Broadly address firearm safety, violence intervention and control research; serious mental illness and firearm violence; and improving treatment of patients injured from firearms, among other issues.

Culture of violence

Principle: We all own the culture of violence. The same principle of freedom with responsibility applies to the manner in which mass killings are communicated to the public. We have concerns that the manner and tone in which information is released to the public and covered by the media likely leads to “copy-cat” mass killers.

  1. Publicly eliminate the notoriety of the shooter and take an editorially muted approach to the coverage of these events.

Social isolation and mental health

Principle: Social Isolation combined with exaggerated depictions of violence, especially when targeted towards young men, likely contributes to violence in the US.22

(22. Council on Communications and Media. Media violence. Pediatrics 2009;124:1495-1503.)

  1. Encourage recognition of mental health warning signs and social isolation; when such warning signs are identified, immediate refer persons to appropriate mental health professionals.

For evident signs of violent ideation, thoughts, or actions encourage peers, teachers, and family to “see something, say something” and report to appropriate local and national law enforcement

These recommendations were developed by trauma surgeons and firearm owners to make firearm ownership safer for all Americans.

Released 11/14/2018
Journal of the American College of Surgeons