TIME.com stock photos Health First Aid Kit Gloves
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

American Medical Association Declares Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced on Tuesday that the organization has adopted a policy that calls gun violence a public health crisis and plans lobby Congress to overturn laws that prevent the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from studying gun violence.

"Even as America faces a crisis unrivaled in any other developed country, the Congress prohibits the CDC from conducting the very research that would help us understand the problems associated with gun violence and determine how to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries,"AMA President Dr. Steven J. Stack said in a statement. "An epidemiological analysis of gun violence is vital so physicians and other health providers, law enforcement, and society at large may be able to prevent injury, death and other harms to society resulting from firearms."

newsletter
TIME HealthGet the latest health and science news, plus: burning questions and expert tips. View Sample

The medical group made its announcement amid one of the most tragic mass shootings in America. In the early morning of June 12, a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, leaving 49 and wounding dozens more.

The group said in a statement that it "recognizes that uncontrolled ownership and use of firearms, especially handguns, is a serious threat to the public's health inasmuch as the weapons are one of the main causes of intentional and unintentional injuries and deaths"

The policy offers support for waiting periods to buy firearms and requiring background checks.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.