COALITION OF HEALTH CARE ORGANIZATIONS, SEIU
ENDORSE QUESTION 1 TO MAKE NEVADA SAFER
Nevada State Medical Association among health care groups and professionals supporting Question 1 to help reduce gun violence and save lives
Las Vegas, NV: Today the Question 1 campaign announced the endorsement of a coalition of health care groups in Nevada, with the Nevada State Medical Association, Nevada Public Health Association, Crisis Call Center and Nevada Psychiatric Association all announcing their support for the campaign to require background checks on all gun sales. Additionally, the Service Employees International Union, which represents hundreds of nurses across Nevada, endorsed the ballot initiative. These groups join the individual health care professionals who previously signed on to the campaign’s Health Care Coalition, showing that health care and public health professionals agree: requiring background checks on all gun sales will make our state safer, and reduce the financial burden on our health care system.
Previous research has shown that firearm injuries don’t just devastate families – they also put a major strain on the state’s pocketbook. Data from the Center for Health Information Analysis for Nevada show that firearm injuries cost Nevada hospitals nearly $250 million over the last ten years of available data, including more than $40 million in 2014 alone. More than half of these costs are borne by taxpayers, by way of public insurers and charities.
The Nevada State Medical Association (NSMA), the state’s largest physician-led advocacy group, voted to endorse Question 1 at its annual meeting in September, where members evaluate proposals related to public health and set health care policy priorities for the coming year.
“Research suggests that closing the loophole on background checks will reduce instances of gun violence,” NSMA Executive Director Catherine O’Mara said. “NSMA acknowledges that Question 1 alone may not prevent all instances of gun violence. This common sense measure which recognizes the right to lawfully and responsibly own a gun, will improve public health by closing the background check loophole.”
Currently, Nevada law only requires licensed gun dealers to conduct criminal background checks on gun sales. Question 1 would close the loophole and level the playing field, requiring checks on all gun sales, with reasonable exceptions for family, hunting and self-defense. In states that have passed similar laws, there are 48 percent fewer firearm suicides; 46 percent fewer women shot and killed by intimate partners; and 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers shot and killed with handguns.
The NSMA is joined by several other Nevada health care groups in supporting Question 1.
“Question 1 is a common sense public health and public safety ballot measure, supported by the Nevada Public Health Association, and we urge all Nevadans to join us in making our communities more healthy and safe by voting yes on Question 1,” said John Packham, chair of the Nevada Public Health Association’s Advocacy and Policy Committee.
“The number one goal of the Crisis Call Center is to save the lives of those who contact us,” said Crisis Call Center Executive Director Rachelle Pallissier. “We are very interested in supporting evidence-based violence prevention measures, including programs and policies to prevent firearm injuries and violence, as well as support for evidence-based suicide prevention.”
“We believe it is essential to the health and well-being of our society and our patients to support efforts to decrease the opportunity for individuals who are at risk of perpetrating violence with firearms to easily obtain guns by avoiding criminal background checks,” said Lesley Dickson, Executive Director and State Legislative Representative of the Nevada Psychiatric Association. “Individuals with a history of domestic violence, felonies and civil commitment for a serious mental illness will be identified before buying a gun in all locations guns are now purchased.”
These organizations join many others in supporting Question 1, including the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, Las Vegas Fraternal Order of Police, Nevada Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, The Latin Chamber of Commerce, The Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence, The Council for a Better Nevada, Hispanics in Politics, Nevada State Education Association, Nevada PTA, Nevada State AFL-CIO, Culinary Workers Local #226, and many other organizations and individuals working to pass Question 1. The campaign is led by an Advisory Board of more than 50 Nevadansrepresenting law enforcement, faith, veterans, gun owners, business and community leaders from across the state and political spectrum.
Nevadans for Background Checks is a statewide coalition of law enforcement, domestic violence advocacy, faith, business and community leaders who are working to pass the criminal background check initiative. The ballot measure is a common-sense proposal that will close loopholes in Nevada law by requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales with reasonable exceptions for family, hunting and self-defense. The proposed law would put private sellers on a level playing field with licensed gun dealers, who already are required to conduct background checks on gun sales.