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US nurses call for tighter gun control laws

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A major US nursing union has called for tighter laws on firearms in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting earlier this month.

On Saturday, the American Nurses Association issued a declaration calling for “sensible gun control measures”.

“Now is the time to enact meaningful gun control legislation”

Pamela Cipriano

It included a call to remove a ban on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studying gun violence.

On 12 June 12, a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The gunman, named as Omar Mateen, was subsequently shot by police.

It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman and the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since the September 11 attacks in 2001.

The ANA’s declaration stated that in recent years the US had “endured unspeakable acts of violence with the common thread in each of these mass-casualty tragedies being easy access to guns”.

It said that, at an “alarming rate”, nurses and other health professionals were being called upon to care for “victims of mass shootings, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings”.

It added that the association commended the nurses and entire health care team at Orlando Regional Medical Center for their “dedication and professionalism during this tragic event”.

ANA president Pamela F. Cipriano said: “Now is the time to enact meaningful gun control legislation at the state and federal level to protect society.

“We all must join with other members of our community and at every level of civil society in dialogue and action to address the underlying issues that result in hate and motivate unspeakable acts of violence,” she said.

The declaration follows the ANA’s “lobby day” on 23 June, when almost 300 nurses went to Capitol Hill to highlight their concerns about key nursing and healthcare issues, including gun violence.

The association, which describes itself as the “premiere professional” organisation representing the interests of 3.6 million nurses in the US, held its annual conference this week in Washington DC.

Rebecca Patton, a former president of the association, addressed the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress in Glasgow last week.

She received a standing ovation after highlighting the work of the union to influence US politicians, including presidential hopefuls, on nursing policy.

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