Rep. Blumenauer: 'We Need More Research on the Health Effects of Guns’

Eric Scheiner | February 12, 2015 | 3:28pm EST
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Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) Starr)

( - Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D- Ore.) has released a plan calling for “more research on the health effects of guns.”

Blumenauer’s “Enough is Enough” plan looks back to how the U.S. government addressed tobacco use and automobile safety in years past and calls for a similar approach to guns.

“The Surgeon General's report on tobacco was a major catalyst for the efforts to reduce tobacco use. Ralph Nader’s research captured headlines and focused public attention on automobile safety. Similarly, we need more research on the health effects of guns. We can start by improving the ability of researchers and the federal government to study and share information about guns,” according to the plan.

The plan also increases the role of doctors and nurses in the debate on guns. “Our doctors and nurses should be part of the efforts to increase gun safety. Just as your physician would encourage you to stop smoking, or to put your child in a car seat, they should be able to ask questions and give advice about guns. People know and trust their doctors; when doctors encourage safe gun practices, people listen,” the plan says.

Some other steps of the plan include “Improving the Mental Health System”,  “Increasing Product Safety” and “Controlling Access to the Most Dangerous Products.”

“There is tremendous variability in gun designs and features. Some are best used as tools or for sport - specifically designed for hunting or target shooting. Other guns have additional features such as pistol grips, barrel shrouds, and magazines that are detachable or attach outside the pistol grip. These features can allow a shooter to fire a large number of rounds at an extremely rapid pace without reloading. Commonly referred to as assault weapons, they are designed to be highly deadly.”

“Restrictions on assault weapon availability and magazine capacity can be a small but important step in addressing the lethality of mass shootings,” Blumenauer’s plan says.

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The "Enough is Enough" plan cites Australia’s laws banning semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns, instituting a 28-day waiting period for every gun purchase and requiring every potential owner to show a genuine reason to own, possess, or use a firearm as an “inspiring” example of incremental steps to reduce gun violence that can be effective.

According to the plan, “Solutions in the United States will not look like those in Australia, but the Australian experience shows that it is possible to reduce gun violence significantly while still allowing hobby and sport shooting for responsible owners. We must chart our own path forward, but we cannot be afraid to take the first step.”

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