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Pediatricians: Gun Violence Is a Public Safety Issue

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In a move that is drawing a variety of opinions from people on every side of the debate over gun violence, the American Academy of Pediatrics appealed to Congress this month to pass legislation that includes an assault weapon ban, mandatory background checks and waiting periods before all firearm purchases, a ban on high-capacity magazines, handgun regulations and requirements for safe firearm storage under federal law.  NBC News has more:

"I think we can be honest brokers," says Dr. Lolita McDavid, medical director for child advocacy and protection at University Hospitals, part of Case Western Reserve University's school of medicine in Cleveland.

"We have to have a collectively louder voice," Dr. Danielle Laraque, who chairs the pediatrics department at Maimonides Infants and Children's Hospital in Brooklyn, told a meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. "What we need is a call to action, to really look at how we can change public policy that is not often affected by data."

They don't always get a friendly reception. Just two weeks before the doctors arrived, Congress had scuttled what gun-control advocates had considered a modest bill to expand background checks for gun sales.

Congress had already dropped a wider measure pushed by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden after the December shootings of 20 schoolchildren and six adults in Newtown, Conn.

Image: Gun trigger, via Shutterstock

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