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August 4, 2015

Physician Counseling on Firearm SafetyA New Kind of Cultural Competence

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado
  • 2Violence Prevention Research Program, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California-Davis, Sacramento, California
JAMA. 2015;314(5):449-450. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.7055

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 33 636 deaths and 84 258 nonfatal injuries from firearms occurred in the United States in 2013.1 Physician counseling concerning gun safety has been identified as a key component of the prevention of firearm injury and deaths.2 However, recently proposed or enacted state laws that are perceived as restricting physicians’ conversations with patients about firearms have spurred debates about the role of physicians in preventing firearm injury and death. In response, medical, legal, and public health organizations published a statement defending freedom in the physician-patient relationship and the right for physicians to be able to speak openly with patients about firearm safety.3

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