Physicians, Public Health Experts Declare “This is Our Lane” at Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Roundtable

October 17, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) convened members of Congress, physicians, and public health experts for a problem-solving discussion regarding the epidemic of gun violence facing the nation. Dr. Ruiz led the discussion centered on approaching gun violence as a public health epidemic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), Chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, participated in the discussion as well.

“As physicians and public health experts, we are equipped with the knowledge, data, and firsthand experience to treat the public health crisis of gun violence,” said Congressman Ruiz, an emergency physician. “We see what this epidemic looks like from the ground level, which is why it is important we declare together: this is our lane. Hearing the stories of doctors and public health experts is essential to fully understanding the public health threat we have on our hands. That is why we must come together, as we are doing today, to promote commonsense solutions to our nation’s ongoing gun violence epidemic.”

“The gun violence epidemic is a grave public health crisis that reaches into every community in America,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Our Congress and country are well-served by the values- and facts-based leadership that Congressman Ruiz brings, as a physician and a strong moral leader in the Congress, to the fight to end this epidemic.  It is an honor to join Congressman Ruiz, our colleagues in the Congress and physicians and public health professionals for this vital conversation to accelerate our drumbeat of action to pass H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112, bipartisan commonsense background checks, to save lives.  We will not go away until Senator McConnell takes up our legislation, and our children are safe.”

“Gun violence is absolutely a public health crisis and we must use public health research to address it,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “That’s why I was honored to join House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Raul Ruiz, who is a physician himself, and other health care providers to call attention to this crisis. Dr. Ruiz’s leadership and the advocacy of his fellow doctors is a key part of our work urging Senate Majority Leader McConnell to pass H.R. 8, bipartisan legislation the House passed more than 230 days ago to help prevent gun violence and keep our communities safe.”

Physicians and public health experts, many of whom are on the front lines of the gun violence epidemic, called on the Senate to take up House-passed legislation that would reduce firearm deaths across the country. Last year, the NRA told doctors and medical professionals to “stay in their lane” after physicians advocated for gun violence research and prevention measures to save American lives. Today, physicians and public health experts declared together loudly that on the subject of gun violence prevention: “This is our lane.”

Participating Public Health Experts

Dr. Megan Ranney                                                      American College of Emergency Physicians

Dr. Arthur Evans                                                        American Psychological Association

Dr. Joseph Wright                                                       American Academy of Pediatrics

Dr. Ronald Stewart                                                     American College of Surgeons

Dr. Emmy Betz                                                           University of Colorado, School of Medicine

Dr. Robert McLean                                                     American College of Physicians

Dr. Georges C. Benjamin                                           American Public Health Association




In February 2019, the House passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act—bipartisan, commonsense legislation to enhance life-saving background checks. Both bills now await a vote in the Senate.

Gun Violence Prevention Bills Passed in the House:

H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act

Passed the House on February 27, 2019                                                                  

H.R. 111, the Enhanced Background Checks Act

Passed the House on February 28, 2019       


Gun Violence Prevention Legislation Introduced in the House:

H.R. 1296, the Assault Weapons Ban

H.R. 1186, the Keep Americans Safe Act

H.R. 1236, the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act

H.R. 2708, the Disarm Hate Act



Gun Violence Statistics:

Average gun violence deaths per year: 36,383[1]

Average Injuries per year: 100,120[2]

The U.S. Gun Homicide Rate is 25 times that of other countries.[3]

As of September 1, 2019, there have been 283 mass shootings in the U.S.[4]

Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, there have been 2,260 mass shootings.[5]



Gun Violence Prevention Statistics:

83% of gun owners support expanded background checks on sales of firearms.[6]

61% of Americans are in favor of stricter gun laws in the United States.

89% of Americans support background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or other sales.[7]



[1] Everytown. “Gun Violence in America.” (April 4, 2019):

[2] Everytown. “Gun Violence in America.” (April 4, 2019):

[3] Everytown. “Gun Violence in America.” (April 4, 2019):

[4] CBS News. “There have been more mass shootings than days this year.” (Sept. 1, 2019):

[5] Vox. “After Sandy Hook, we never said again. And then we let 2, 260 mass shootings happen.” (October 15, 2019): 

[6] Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. “The Vast Majority of Americans Support Universal Background Checks. Why Doesn’t Congress?”

[7] NPR. “Americans Largely Support Gun Restrictions To 'Do Something' About Gun Violence.” (August 10, 2019):