A Pledge to Address Gun Safety from ACP and Your New York Chapter

Dear Colleagues,

What can we do to help protect our patients, their families and our communities from firearm-related harms? We can recognize risk factors, and when present ask our patients about firearm safety.  It’s what we do all the time: recognize risks to our patients, ask questions, and provide assistance.

Please consider joining your ACP colleagues by pledging, “When risk factors for harm to my patients or others are present, I will ask my patients about firearm ownership and safety.” You may do so at this link.

Here are other helpful links to address gun safety:

  • Learn to recognize risks and how to talk to patients from the Annals of Internal Medicine: Click here
  • Names of colleagues who have made the pledge can be found on the "comments" tab (or at "Jump to" on a smart phone) of this paper explaining why the pledge is so important: Click here
  • Please read below regarding physician responsibility under the New York Secure Ammunitions and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act

We can do something.  As physicians we must.  Talking about firearms to our patients who are at risk for harming themselves or others is the right thing to do, is required by New York State, and supported by ACP’s positions. Taking action when we encounter a patient at risk for harming her/himself or others, might save a life or lives. What could be more important? 

Thank you!

Darilyn Moyer, MD, FACP
Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer, ACP

Christine Laine, MD, FACP
Editor-in-Chief, Annals of Internal Medicine

Darren Taichman, MD, PhD, FACP
Executive Editor, Annals of Internal Medicine

NYACP Governors:

Donna Seminara, MD, FACP
Louis Snitkoff, MD, FACP
Lawrence Phillips, MD, FACP
Maria Carney, MD, FACP
Lynn Cleary, MD, FACP

What Are Your Legal Responsibilities Under the NY SAFE Act?

The New York Secure Ammunitions and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act passed in 2013, and requires health professionals to report a person who “is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others” to the County Director of Community Services (DCS) as soon as practicable. If the DCS agrees with the assessment, a report is filed by DCS to the NYS Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). This department will review whether the patient has applied for a firearms license or has a registered assault weapon. Law enforcement is then notified to revoke the license and/or remove applicable firearms.

Under this law, health professionals are any physician, psychologist, registered nurse or licensed clinical social worker who is caring for the patient. This care can be given in any setting – i.e. inpatient, ambulatory, psychiatric ward, emergency room, etc.

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