Tennessee lawmakers must address gun violence as a public health crisis | Opinion

Tennessee lawmakers must address gun violence as a public health crisis | Opinion

Gun Rights

Tennessee legislators should focus on keeping guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories by passing a strong red-flag law. A new legislative session has begun in Tennessee, and with it comes a familiar debate on one of the most devastating issues facing our state: gun violence. As a physician, I’ve dedicated myself to finding solutions to the gun violence crisis in our state. This session, it’s time lawmakers realize that gun violence is a public health emergency that must be addressed by common-sense legislation. As a recently retired trauma surgeon with the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center and former chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, I’ve spent decades on the front lines of the fight against gun violence. I founded the trauma center in Memphis back in 1983 and was a leader in the development of the trauma system for the state of Tennessee. Throughout my long career, I’ve seen gun violence in our state increase dramatically. In fact, a staggering 14 percent of all trauma patients at the EPMTC are attributable to gunshot wounds. In the medical community, we look to research and science to solve problems. But research on gun violence prevention has been sorely lacking, thanks to a law restricting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from researching gun violence, which takes 100 American lives every day. So, like many physicians in our state and country, over the years I have taken […]

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