A gunman killed at least 19 children and two teachers and injured at least a dozen others yesterday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

This must stop.

A gunman killed one person and injured five people May 15 at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, Calif.

This must stop.

A gunman killed 10 people and injured three May 14 at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.

This must stop.

These are just three of the most recent mass shooting incidents that have devastated families and communities across the country. Sadly, a mass shooting event occurs almost every day in the U.S.

This must stop.

However, gun violence is bigger than mass shootings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that in 2020 there were more than 45,000 firearm-related deaths in the U.S., which is about 124 people dying each day.

This must stop.

Every day, hospitals and health systems across the country respond to the trauma caused by gun violence. Through the AHA’s Hospitals Against Violence initiative, we have partnered with the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center to provide resources and support surrounding incidents of mass violence for the communities and patients served by hospitals and health systems.

Gun violence also has a significant health care dimension and is a public health issue.

While our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims, families and communities of Uvalde, Laguna Woods, Buffalo – and all of the individuals and communities dealing with the aftermath of violent incidents – we know we must take action to stop these senseless acts of violence.

Hospitals have been working with their communities to support programs that lower risk for violence, such as implementing gun buy-back programs to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands; providing free trigger locks to prevent unintentional firearm discharge, no questions asked; and counseling and distributing educational resources on firearm safety in clinical settings.

We also are continuing to work to make hospitals and health systems safe for patients, families and employees. The AHA has urged the Department of Justice to support legislation that would give health care workers the same legal protections against assault and intimidation as flight crews and airport workers have under federal law.

On June 3, AHA joins hospitals across the country for the association’s sixth annual #HAVhope Friday. Part of AHA’s Hospitals Against Violence initiative for mitigating violence in the workplace and community, #HAVhope is a national day of awareness that unites hospitals, health systems, nurses, doctors and other professionals on social media to highlight programs and other violence mitigation initiatives.

Visit our #HAVhope Friday landing page for more details and resources about how you can participate in this day and share stories of actions you are taking to mitigate violence in our nation.

Together, once and for all, let’s work to stop these senseless acts of violence.

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