ANA Chief Calls for Stricter Gun Laws

In the wake of the Newtown, CT school shooting, the president of the American Nurses Association describes gun violence as "a public health issue" and is calling on lawmakers to ban assault weapons and enact other reforms.

34 comments on "ANA Chief Calls for Stricter Gun Laws"
Tyler D. (2/10/2013 at 9:02 PM)

Consider Mexico which currently has extreem gun control laws in place for many years now. Why do they have the second highest gun murder rate in the world? What about South Africa which also has virtually outlawed guns and also suffers from outrageous levels of gun violence. Too far from home you say? How about middle america and the wonderful city of Chicago. Some of the most restrictive laws on the books and yet how many are murdered on an average weekend? ANA keep on spouting nonsense about gun control. Oh yeah, the rifles and pistols used by the Germans during WW2 were not even the "evil" assault rifles as defined by current proposed legislation. Get the facts and perhaps you will be able to exercise your critical thinking skills. Or, just mindlessly yell "ban all guns" and comfort yourself with your own delusion. Emotional arguments and some of the non-critical thinking statements on this thread remind me of the people who are convinced that all Vaccines are bad and should be shunned regardless of the cost.
Peter M Abraham (2/5/2013 at 11:42 AM)

Good day: U.S. Civilians cannot buy assault weapons as it stands now. The media misreported that Adam used an AR-15 (AR in AR-15 stands for Armalite); that specific weapon (which is not an assault weapon, it is a civilian rifle) was in the trunk. The 2nd amendment is for self defense and protection against tyranny. While the events at Sandy Hook, Columbine (btw, all mass shootings occurred at gun free zones) are horrendous, those events should not be used to abuse the 2nd amendment in any way. The 2nd amendment includes the words, "shall not be infringed." Reducing the bullets one can use to defend oneself when the criminal will find a way to circumvent such laws only hurts us. In the U.S. alone, 3,500 babies are aborted every day. Planned Parenthood published a 2012 (this is public) annual report where you can read they abort 94 babies every second. Those of you who don't believe in the 2nd amendment or who don't understand the words "shall not be infringed") who want to make a great impact on saving the lives of children, work towards stopping abortion. Thank you.
Sue (1/29/2013 at 9:00 PM)

We need a Moratorium On Bullets! Outlaw the production and sale of assault weapons and ammunition.
chuck (1/25/2013 at 10:10 AM)

This is why I will NEVER join ANA. Gun control is not the answer. The ANA, like NOW, is controlled by liberals and pushes a liberal agenda. If you really wanted to save lives you would be for the banning of all alcohol, baseball bats, hammers, fast cars, sex, video games, ladders, bathtubs, etc.
AnOldNurse (1/21/2013 at 9:45 AM)

The ANA should be focusing on the lack of mental health in this country and let the politicians duke it out over legislation and gun control. I don't want the politicians "weighing in" on any nursing "rights and responsibilities" more than they already do. We have our right to be heard about all issues, including gun control, and that is by way of our vote. We are the experts in HEALTH care, and that includes Mental Health. That's where our voices should be heard. More and better coverage for the mentally ill is a good place to start.
Paulette Carter (1/20/2013 at 2:00 PM)

Nurses vow to preserve life and promote health and well-being. Guns, in the hands of innocents, in the hands of the violent, in the hands of the unstable, are destructive and nurses should gather their strength and voices to reverse the trend that the right to bear arms outstrips the right to be safe around those who bear arms. There is no reason for military-type weapons and ammunition in the hands of the average citizen. These must be outlawed and those who acquire and use them illegally must be apprehended and made to accept the consequences. I have assisted in the surgical removal of a bullet from a patient's brain; once was enough for me.
Debra Mosher (1/18/2013 at 3:08 PM)

Shame on you is right. I have been a nurse for 25 years and have been shooting competition for the last 10 of those years. I am also trained in self-defense using a gun and honestly, I would use a gun to defend my self, friends and family. Unfortunately for me, I live in Illinois and may never be able to carry in my own state. I do whole heartedly agree that a more thorough mental health background check be performed and that anyone that wants to carry is trained by experts and feels comfortable using a gun. As far as "assault weapons" go, I've never known a law abiding citizen to carry one. It's the criminals who obtain them illegally or the ones stolen from those who are careless and do not secure their guns that are causing the problem. Guns don't kill people, people do.....
Philip Stegner (1/18/2013 at 2:45 PM)

The topics covered in the letter sound very appropriate for the ANA to address. It does address access to Mental Health, and gun control, or the lack of, is certainly within the public health domain. How can it not be when we have higher rates of firearm related deaths than any other industrialized country?
Wayne Poffenbarger (1/18/2013 at 2:24 PM)

This ANA president gives a lot of us another reason not to be a member of the ANA.
a friend (1/18/2013 at 8:34 AM)

Shame on you for not tackling the real problem!Guns do not pull their own triggers. As a medical profession, we should be talking about the horrible lack of mental health care and the laws around it, not about gun control. Anyone can obtain a gun, illegally!
Dorothy (1/18/2013 at 6:59 AM)

Children are dying!! and not just in Newtown. Just two weeks later two teenagers were shot in a high school in California. The time for us as an organization and more importantly as HEALTH care advocates is now. I am proud to be a member of an organization that has the courage to take on the tougher issues, or issues of controversy. If the ANA only speaks up on issues that are "safe" and that we as members all agree on then a very powerful voice is silenced. No one said that we all have to agree with the stand taken, no one stated that we have to be Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative. However we did take an oath to protect life, and the ANA's position on this is just one avenue towards that meeting that oath.
Greg Bennett (1/17/2013 at 11:44 PM)

With all due respect, the ANA should stay focused on nursing and nursing related issues. It is important for this valuable association to remember that the dues paying membership is not necessarily Democratic or liberal or for or against abortion."We" do not endorse a particular candidate or lobby for gun control. If you, the leadership, need more crusades, please consider a ban on smoking, reducing the production of meth, educating youth on birth control, promoting a leaner population, controlling driving while intoxicated...if you need more great causes, the list is much longer. Gun violence (and gun control) is not a subject that nursing has an evidence based pathway to follow. Let us not tilt at windmills, but pursue better nursing education, better health care, a better workplace and a better tomorrow. That is why I am a member. If I misunderstand the mission of ANA, please restate it and I will (sadly) withdraw my membership.
Chad (1/17/2013 at 2:55 PM)

As a nurse, I want my profession to be taken seriously. Do you want to be reflected as a profession that makes a difference in people's lives and improve their health? If the answer is yes, then you need to focus on the problem and work toward solutions that make a difference. We are experts in all areas of healthcare. From emergency nursing to school nursing. Take this opprotunity to use our expertise to stand out and distinguish ourselves in the area of our expertise. The last thing we should be talking about is gun control. Talking about an object most of us know nothing about makes us look like idiots that get our information from movies and cable news reporters. What we can do. Educate the public about mental illness; signs of instability and what to do, educate parents and teachers to understand warning signs and how to access help, lobby legislators to take steps to improve access and funding for mental illness. Work WITH the NRA and other gun organizations to elicit their expertise as they do not want criminals or mentally unstable individuals having access to guns either. Lastly, high emotion rarely solves any problem other than to make yourself or the public "feel" better. Honestly, does it make a difference if someone has 7 bullets or 8 bullets in each clip, or if you answer "no" on a yearly exam. Stop asking for someone else to do something as if we need an "order to give Tylenol". Stand on your feet leaders and lead. But focus on what you know.
Milli Planas (1/16/2013 at 10:16 PM)

First off, I would like to congratulate ANA for speaking out and addressing this very serious issue. I am a nursing student in my last semester. As I look forward to the day I become a nurse I know that I have a duty to the people and one of those duties is to educate, educate, to help and treat those who suffer from illnesses whether physical or psychological. In regards to automobiles, cars were intended for the sole purpose of transportation. It is unfortunate though that there are people that should not be behind the wheel drive cars becoming a safety hazard on the road. A gun on the other hand, was meant for hunting, killing, was meant to be used by soldiers to win battles. Fire-arms now are days are being used and misused freely with disregard to public safety. Society has become "gun crazy" and it is reflected in movies and video games. People have lost educational background morally and ethically. Just because a person gets a gun and fires upon another does not necessarily mean that person suffers from mental illness. Nonetheless, mental illness is in fact an underlying problem that is easily overlooked and usually not addressed properly. First we must begin by educating, identifying, then treating and taking action. I am a mother of a 5 year-old little girl and it has become such a reality that circumstances such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary can happen anywhere. And it saddens me that society has come to such a low it is pathetic. My sorrow for those parents is deep. By enforcing stricter gun laws tragedies can be prevented. I remember when the restriction toward concealed weapons was lifted I thought it was the beginning of terrible things to come, and so it was. Gun violence has increased drastically since. Any fire-arm whether concealed, legal, or illegal is a threat and a danger to the public. Sometimes it is hard to diagnose and treat mental illness but making it harder for someone to obtain a gun can prevent future tragedies. Please help make a difference by educating and being advocates for change so that society can feel safe.
Phyllis Kritek, RN, PhD (1/16/2013 at 8:40 PM)

As a nurse, I am proud that our leaders are speaking out on this issue. Nurses are front line providers who care for the victims of gun violence, and the families who grieve those who do not survive that violence. Nurses are front line providers who know better than most the limited services available for the mentally ill, and the suffering their families experience. Yes, we should appropriately speak out on this issue. The efforts to enhance gun safety are no more a threat to the 2nd Amendment than boundaries on speech designed to harm are a threat to the 1st Amendment. I encourage anyone arguing that the efforts to curb gun violence are a threat to the 2nd Amendment reread it: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Are we discussing "a well regulated Militia"?
Toni West (1/16/2013 at 6:56 PM)

I do not agree with stricter gun laws.Do you think criminals follow the law!You can not determine when a person becomes mentally ill. It is a fine line we all walk. Where do you draw the line! As nurses we ask enough questions from our patients. Iwill not comply asking if there is a gun in the home!
Janet Simmons (1/16/2013 at 3:52 PM)

Gun violence is a horrible fact of today's society. ANA as a healthcare organization should focus on the underlying issues. These include mental illness and under served populations, domestic violence and gang violence.
Kelly (1/16/2013 at 3:48 PM)

To Alice Peterson. The two NURSES were expressing their opinion. Which does not give you the right to call them names. If you want to be a part of the conversation answer with professionalism instead of name calling.
Brenda Tyree (1/16/2013 at 3:03 PM)

Sounds like to me, the majority of nurses believe the public health problem is mental health. I agree we need to ban assult weapons, but I don't like being put in a blanket statement that I do not totally agree with. That will not solve the problem.
kelly (1/16/2013 at 2:02 PM) If you are going to use data for your comments then it should be backed up by reliable sources. The data doesn't fit your conclusion.
Ivy Pearlstein (1/16/2013 at 12:56 PM)

I am glad to see nursing leaders use the Connecticut tragedy to shine a light on the real issue, which is access to mental health care. Schools need mental health professionals on staff who can assist families with getting mental health care. Best practices for children with learning differences must be pooled and shared between schools but with sensitivity to cultural and geographic differences in communities. There is not a "one size fits all" solution for all regions of the US with respect to mental health treatment and public education. Local educators and mental health professionals must collaborate to find solutions that can be adapted to each community but can foster global values of community safety and freedom from domestic violence.
Alice Peterson, RN, MPH, CHES, CMSRN (1/16/2013 at 12:30 PM)

To Sharbaugh and 2A - Your answers are in the article. You both sound like trolls for the NRA. IF you would like to truly be part of the discussion, at least make your opening argument coherent.
Alice Peterson, RN, MPH, CHES, CMSRN (1/16/2013 at 12:27 PM)

This issue comes down to two ideas for me: 1. No one has the right to be judge, jury and executioner over someone else. That is why we have a justice system in this country. 2. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Your right to shoot your gun definitely ends at my body also. I am tired of hearing about gun owners' rights. We have a motor vehicle in the garage that is registered and insured and we are licensed to drive. It is not a tank, or drone. There are limits. We have prescriptions in our cabinet. They are legal to have, but may also be lethal. If you want to get picky about the 2nd amendment, it says 'arms' and not cannons, so surely there was a limit intended even then.
Melissa McGregor (1/16/2013 at 12:01 PM)

Owning a gun is a second amendment right. The right to bear arms is something our forefathers guaranteed us in the Constitution. This should not be changed. The public health issue is not gun control. The issue is getting the mentally ill people who use the guns out of society. Children should not be subject to such mentally ill people with a gun. There are more car accidents than gun violence and there is no ban against cars! Let's address the real issue not the control of guns. The mentally ill and the criminals will still get guns and then where will we be? Defenseless and in harms way by some demonized human being. That is the real issue.
Sharon Hoff (1/16/2013 at 11:51 AM)

I totally disagree and feel betrayed by leaders who make sweeping statements that "nurses ....all ...want lawmakers to ban...and enact other reforms". There in lies the real problem. Legislation that is allowed with vague terms and no concrete language. Hidden within the vague language gives presidents and legislators full license to do what ever they want. Including removing my right to protect myself and my family.
M. David Rodriguez (1/16/2013 at 11:44 AM)

I am a nurse. I am a gun owner. I am a former paramedic. I am involved in my nursing organizations. I am in favor of serious discussions about gun voilence. This is a nursing issue. Anything that affects the health of humans is a nursing issue. Don't let anyone tell you different. And I really take offense at someone telling me what I do or do not consider a health or nursing issue. And the second amendment is not sacrosanct. We must discuss this issue and come up with some clear points of action that will change gun violence. Period.
Denise Heyob (1/16/2013 at 11:27 AM)

In response to this article, I do not see anything different than what has already been expressed, communicated or brought forth. I am a nurse, who would like representation that goes deeper than stating support, or reiterating what has already been said. While I do not disagree with it all, I am proposing these questions to you. How will making the laws stricter for 'law abiding' folks decrease crime? How will this nation's leaders work to get the guns out of the hands of the criminals or the criminally insane? I am a behavioral health nurse, who feels the impact of the cuts which were made with regard to mental health. Our patients are coming and going, like a revolving door. And with a 3 to 5 day stay in the hospital, because someone is homicidal, this means my nursing must be meaningful every single moment, however; nurses spend more time documenting than with their patients, to meet hospital standards and regulators. These are real issues, so I would like the leaders who are representing nurses nation wide to take into consideration the over hauling this is going to take. To sum this up, yes, we can limit the way law abiding citizens have access to guns, however; what are we going to do about getting the guns out of the WRONG hands? As a behavioral health nurse, it is our responsibility to call family members to get the guns out of a house of a person who came in suicidal or homicidal. Our thinking MUST be very critical with regard to ALL issues, and not just the ones on the surface. The Newtown shootings will not be forgotten, in fact it will be a sad reminder to what kind of nation we have become. This is how the world sees the America now, and I want nurses to be represented in a way that is making common sense, when addressing such issues.
Chad (1/16/2013 at 11:22 AM)

ANA leadership should focus in an area of expertise like mental health as opposed to voicing opinion about a device they know nothing about. All these incidences involve teens with unstable mental illness. Your focus should call for legislation to improve the completely pathetic mental health treatment in this country. Let the great dividers in the White House and cable news people talk, while a health organization calls for actual intervention that will make a difference.
Diane (1/16/2013 at 11:16 AM)

I don't normally make public comments but I had to address 2A who stated nurses have no right to comment on gun laws? Who do you think takes care of the victims that survive such violence? Of course they have a right to take a stand as does every American. Stricter gun laws aren't necessarily the answer but I agree with the stance on increasing access to mental health services and trying to remove the stigma attached to mental health issues. We as a country need to look at the root cause of the violence and not blame the weapons used? Why don't we look at all the violence children are exposed to in the games they play, the TV/Movies out there! Can't tell you a movie that I would consider seeing other than Lincoln...I dont' want to watch war movies/crime movies...and pretty much that's all that's out there.... just my opinion
Amanda Nickerson (1/16/2013 at 11:09 AM)

ABSOLUTELY the ANA should add their voice to this policy issue! Gun violence is a public health issue and nurses comprise the greatest number of health care professionals in this country. It is critically essential that organizations like the ANA let their opinions be heard and influence policy makers to act responsibly and reduce the number of gun-related deaths...especially those caused by assault weapons. Its funny how the previous comments were aimed at protecting 2nd amendment, while criticizing the ANA for using their 1st amendment rights. Jon Stewart couldn't have summed it up better:[INVALID]-gun-control
nancy barr (1/16/2013 at 10:56 AM)

This is about access to care specifically mental health. Registered Nurses are the front line in these situations if the schools have a registered nurse. It is about providing a registered nurse in every school.
sharbaugh (1/16/2013 at 9:44 AM)

O.K., thanks, glad we know where the president of the ANA stands on guns. Never mind the right to own a gun is enshrined in the Constitution. Now please let us know your views on President Obama's use of Predator and Reaper drones that have been used to kill many more innocent children in Pakistan than the shootings here in the U.S. Does the president of the ANA care to opine on this????
2A (1/15/2013 at 7:29 PM)

First off nursing groups don't have any business getting involved in policy debates like this. The right to own a gun is a constitutional right. Do your job as a nurse and stop trying to look like a celebrity who speaks out on something they know nothing about.
Betty (1/15/2013 at 1:51 PM)

Totally agree.. Glad a nursing voice is speaking out on this issue!


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