A call for action

AOA President calls for research on gun violence

Emergency physician John W. Becher, DO, cites prevalence of mass shootings, rising fatality rates in urging action to stem public health crisis.

AOA President John W. Becher, DO, an emergency physician, today issued a statement calling for legislators to fund Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research into the causes and prevention of gun violence:

“Every American knows that gun violence has escalated dramatically, with mass shootings occurring so often as to become commonplace in our culture. What people don’t see is the increasing severity of victims’ injuries. As a recent study found, death rates for hospitalized gunshot victims climbed an average of 6 percent every two years at one hospital while fatalities for other traumas declined. More and more victims are arriving at our hospitals with two or more gunshot wounds and we as physicians are less able to save them.

“It is time for Congress to fund Centers for Disease Control research into the causes and prevention of gun violence. Osteopathic physicians are taught to find the root cause of disease and we urge legislators to help solve this unending public health crisis by investing in the scientific search for understanding. That is why the AOA’s House of Delegates approved policy in support of funding CDC research to help address this public health crisis impacting our communities and nation.

“I also urge the American Osteopathic Association’s Board of Trustees to use its resources to sponsor objective research that will help our nation address the epidemic of gun violence. Our profession is grounded in the principle of prevention and as osteopathic physicians we are obligated to shift our attention from treating endless trauma to preventing further harm.”


  1. COL David Towle

    the “human animal” has a natural tendency to devolve to violence …whether it be rocks and sticks or atomic bombs … treat the psychological disturbances as they are fewer than the potential weapons


    Thousands die yearly from all kinds of violence. Let us spend research money to find and treat the killers, not the objects they use, like knives, poisons, cars and propaganda to encourage would-be terrorists.

  3. Tommy Reeder, D.O.

    Have not been a dues paying member of the AOA for 3 years…..now I’m PROUD to say I’m NOT a member of AOA!

  4. Anton Power

    With respect, guns are designed for one purpose, and that is to kill people. Weapons of war have no place at home. Unlike so many other weapons available, guns have the unique capability to hurt people up to a mile away. They have the capability to fire as many rounds as the gunman desires.

    A criminal can’t throw a knife at someone a mile away. A knife can’t penetrate walls. A bullet can. This is why gun violence is such a problem. Yes, mental illness is part of the problem. But high powered rifles with almost unlimited supply of magazines are also a problem.

    1. Tommy Reeder D.O.

      Seems to me prescription pads are killings more people than my guns. Medical errors are responsible for 10% of annual American deaths. Maybe the AOA should sweep its own porch before wading into a political issue it has no business getting involved in.

      1. Richard James

        So then you are arguing for all prescription drugs to be openly available to anyone, without any waiting period, informed consent, or permission needed? I assume that’s your argument, because “drugs don’t kill people, doctors prescribing them to people kills people” seems to be what you’re saying.

      2. Tommy Reeder D.O.

        That is correct Richard James, doctors are killing people. Medical error is now the number 3 leading cause of death in America.

  5. Jason

    The NRA is largely responsible for blocking research on gun violence. They have consistently lobbied hard to protect the interest of gun manufacturers for years and have fooled people into believing they are “protecting your 2nd amendment right.” Until people stand up against the NRA and demand that their senators and congressman listen to their concerns and not those of the NRA, the problem will not go away.

  6. Jason

    I’m also quite disappointed to see so many fellow physicians leaving ignorant comments on here. I would presume you all practice evidence based medicine? Why would you not apply the same sort of evidence based approach to dealing with gun violence? The AOA is calling for research! They want to learn what the underlying problem is so that we can make an effort to fix it. Why would you be opposed to gaining knowledge on this subject? Sounds like the NRA has you fooled too.

  7. Larry

    Nothing wrong with “gaining knowledge” but the politicians are pushing issues like this to justify their political agendas. We know what causes violence but we don’t have easy solutions or really want to change to deal with these main issues.

    How will we put God back into schools and the homes where godlessness reigns? How will we get better education to the inner cities like Chicago and Balt to help raise people out of the gang mires? How will we start looking at the people who commit crimes and incarcerate them without plea bargaining gun charges down? How do we encourage parents to get married and stay married and prevent broken families without good role models?

    Guns are not the issue. Obama doesn’t even want to identify one of the biggest threats to our country when it is his duty to do so and protect us. He’s more worried about what bathroom people can use depending on their gender du jour. It isn’t always a hate crime or work place violence when someone gets shot. Political correctness won’t allow us to deal with the real problems; there always has to be a straw man to blame it on. Guns don’t kill people. Having more research on gun violence won’t teach us anything we don’t already know.

    Tons of research has been done on Osteopathic Principles and Practice to PROVE it works when done the way A. T. Still wanted it to be done. Are the DO schools effectively teaching and encouraging physicians to practice this way? NO! So, what good will more research do? The AOA has not had my support for years because they don’t represent the Osteopathic profession I signed up for and practice every day. Go ahead and vote Hillary in office and get your research funding and see how much it really changes things on the streets in America.

    I wish we had a president of the AOA who took us back to the principles we used to have as a profession and left issues like this alone. But, I can prescribe marijuana now for someone who says they have a headache. Hey, let’s outlaw guns and see crime diminish to nothing. It sure worked for drugs.

  8. David

    There are opinions being expressed here that are so narrowly focused that the real issues of diversity and the awareness that I may not live anything remotely like you brings condemnation upon my life style and intense judgement cast in unintentional ignorance. Let’s try this. I’m a physician in Montana when I go for a walk I never ever walk without a firearm on my hip. Contrary to one of the opinions expressed guns aren’t only made to kill people but rather in respondible hands have saved my life from mountain lion and bears on three such occasions.
    Last year 1.5 million Americans per police records and FBI reports used fire arms to protect themselves from violent home invaders, rapists and just out right violence of man toward man whatever the stated reason. 1.5 million people had their lives and property saved yet amazingly we focus on the 22,000 cases of gun violence deeply entrenched in politically correct conclusions. My guns have saved my life on numerous occasions. If the gun violence laws on the books were enforced in places such as Chicago I suspect the violent criminals would be taken off the street in short order and armed good citizens would no longer be the victims they are today. The real irony in Chicago and other strict gun law cities is the failure to enforce the laws on the books since I suspect taking criminals off the street was never the intention of the politically correct governments who enslave the innocent unarmed people with laws rendering their self protection totally moot.
    Just an observation.
    And a reminder

  9. Jeff Mimbs

    The AOA sold its soul long ago, doesn’t represent its graduates well …. Hence once again after this anane story of calls of government overreach by our supposed leader…. I am once again glad I am not a member

  10. John Hawes

    The conclusion of any study to prevent gun violence will no doubt involve elimination of guns. For the AOA to to send a statement requesting funding for such a study is, in essence, a way of justifying that inevitable conclusion. Thus planting the association’s feelings on gun control. The AOA does not, and should not, voice my opinions regarding gun control. This is a bad precedent.

  11. Tommy Reeder D.O.

    With regards to firearm related deaths, one only needs to look at who is doing 95% of the killing to understand what the cause of the problem is. No government funded research necessary.

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