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March 27, 2013

A Systematic Plan for Firearms Law Reform

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation, Harvard Law School, Boston, Massachusetts (Ms Record); and O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington, DC (Mr Gostin).

JAMA. 2013;309(12):1231-1232. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.1127

That was the worst day of my presidency. Something fundamental in America has to change,” remarked President Obama, digesting the tragic massacre of 20 grade-school children in Newtown, Connecticut.1 The United States has nearly as many firearms as inhabitants; while mortality rates from most major causes of injury have significantly declined, the number of annual firearms fatalities (32 163 in 2011) has not decreased.2 Even the political discussion in the wake of Newtown resulted in a spike in firearm sales. President Obama's plan to reduce firearm violence includes (1) closing background check loopholes; (2) banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and (3) improving mental health services.3

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