ENA Calls for Assault Weapons Ban, Firearms Purchase Age Increase
July 26, 2023 • Emergency Nurses Association Firearms Injury Prevention Position Statement
ENA also highlights need for firearms injury prevention resources, screening risk tools, ghost gun ban
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (July 26, 2023) – Whether in a mass shooting, urban violence, self-harm or intimate partner violence, the damage caused by firearms is something emergency nurses know firsthand – they see it and experience their own trauma every day while simply trying to save the lives of those injured by a firearm.
As the leading voice for emergency nurses, ENA has a vested interest in the impact of firearm violence because of its direct relationship to injury prevention, patient care and the health and well-being of the nurses who repeatedly experience trauma while caring for victims of gun violence.
This week, ENA released its strongest firearm safety related position statement in the association’s 53-year history. It calls for, among other things:
- A ban on assault weapons, as defined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
- Raising the minimum purchase age to 21 for all firearms.
- Establishing a federal prohibition on ghost guns and their components.
- Implementation of emergency department screening tools to help identify individuals at high risk of death or injury from a firearm.
- Measures to support more consistent firearms research and data collection.
- Providing health care workers with resources to educate patients about firearm safety and injury prevention.
- Collaboration with, and support of, evidence-based school or community programs focused on firearm injury prevention.
“The true toll of the gun violence epidemic in this country goes deeper than the headlines we see on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis,” said ENA President Terry Foster, MSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, CCRN, TCRN, FAEN. “Mass shootings and frequent gun violence in many cities across the country get more attention, but emergency nurses understand firearm injuries and deaths attributed to domestic violence, suicides and accidental discharges are also a devastating part of this public health crisis.”
A 2022 Pew Research Report indicates the rate of gun deaths among Americans reached its highest level – 10.6 per 100,000 people – in 2020. Further, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in 2022 that firearms are the leading cause of death for U.S. children.
“This updated, evidence-based position statement reflects ENA’s evolving perspectives on the multi-faceted issue of firearms, and it sends a clear message that more must be done to reduce the frequency and severity of firearm injuries and deaths,” Foster added.The full position statement can be read here.