ENA Letter on Gun Safety Legislation
June 9, 2022 • Government Relations
As part of its ongoing efforts to support meaningful steps to reduce the gun violence epidemic, today ENA sent the following letter to Senators Chris Murphy and John Cornyn calling for a comprehensive gun safety bill focused on preventing mass shootings.
June 9, 2022
The Honorable Chris Murphy The Honorable John Cornyn
United States Senate United States Senate
136 Senate Office Building 517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senators Murphy and Cornyn:
On behalf of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and our 50,000 members, I am writing to urge you to reach agreement in your negotiations and pass a comprehensive gun safety bill to prevent mass shootings that have become far too prevalent in our society. As emergency nurses, we are on the front lines of treating the victims of gun violence and have witnessed the devastating injuries and deaths caused by firearms. As a nation, we cannot tolerate this level of violence and carnage which has destroyed the lives of so many of our patients and their families.
ENA strongly supports your efforts to pass legislation that will have a meaningful impact on improving gun safety and reducing gun violence. Specifically, we support provisions which have been discussed in press accounts of the negotiations, as well as other measures that enjoy wide support among the American people. These include:
- Support for strengthening background checks for firearms transactions, including private sales and transfers.
- Support, including grants, to states for the implementation of “red flag” laws that provide law enforcement agencies with the ability to remove firearms from individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others and prevent those same individuals from purchasing firearms.
- Providing extra federal funding for enhanced school security.
- Providing additional resources to increase access to effective and affordable mental health services. This should include access to appropriate care for emergency department patients with acute mental illness for whom access to a firearm poses a risk to themselves or others.
- Continued support for funding at the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research on firearm safety and injury prevention.
- Banning the possession and sale of bump stock type devices that allow a shooter of a semiautomatic weapon to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger, effectively turning the firearm into a fully automatic weapon.
- Raising the federal legal age for the purchase of all semi-automatic weapons to 21.
Not only do these policy initiatives enjoy wide public support, but they are the right thing to do by our patients and communities. Every year, over 117,000 people, including 8,000 children and teenagers, are killed or injured as a result of gun violence. This toll should be unacceptable to all Americans.
As emergency nurses who treat the injured and sick in every community in our nation, we are determined to use our collective voices to seek practical, comprehensive ways to reduce the level of gun violence. As such, we support your efforts to enact reasonable legislation to protect the health and safety of Americans.
Jennifer Schmitz, MSN, EMT-P, CEN, CPEN, CNML, FNP-C, NE-BC
2022 ENA President
cc: Sen. Richard Blumenthal
Sen. Bill Cassidy
Sen. Susan Collins
Sen. Lindsey Graham
Sen. Sen. Martin Heinrich
Sen. Joe Manchin
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
Sen. Thom Tillis
Sen. Pat Toomey
The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines and guides emergency health care public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.