New JAMA Article Addresses Firearm Policy in Hospitals Amid Rising Gun Violence

June 29, 2024

A groundbreaking special communication titled “Firearm Policy in the Hospital Setting—Recognizing Health Care as a ‘Sensitive Place'” was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The authors, including Richard S. Saver, Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, argue that hospitals should be considered “sensitive places” where guns can be prohibited to ensure the safety of patients, staff, and visitors.

The article addresses ongoing legal battles surrounding gun restrictions in hospitals, which have intensified following recent Supreme Court rulings that have called into question the constitutionality of gun regulations in various settings. The authors emphasize the urgent need for a sensible pathway to regulate firearms in healthcare facilities while remaining consistent with the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s “history and tradition” approach to Second Amendment analysis.

Saver and his co-authors, who have personally experienced the impact of gun violence on their campuses and hospitals, stress the importance of finding a balanced approach. “We talked about the need to find a sensible pathway for regulating guns in the hospital setting,” he explains, “to truly recognize hospitals as one of the few sets of places where common sense, health policy, and even the Constitution under the Supreme Court’s current guidance would all agree that hospitals should be gun-free and can be legally.”

The article’s insights offer crucial guidance for policymakers, healthcare administrators, and legal experts working to create safer hospital environments in the face of rising gun violence. The authors underscore the importance of collaboration between these key stakeholders to develop and implement effective strategies that prioritize the well-being of patients, staff, and visitors. As frontline responders to the devastating impact of firearms, healthcare workers bring a unique perspective to this critical conversation. Their firsthand experiences treating victims and witnessing the long-term consequences of gun violence provide them with a powerful voice in advocating for evidence-based policies. By sharing their expertise and advocating for change, healthcare professionals can play a vital role in preventing gun violence, improving treatment for victims, and promoting the safety of their patients and communities.

To learn more, please visit: Firearm Policy in the Hospital Setting—Recognizing Health Care as a “Sensitive Place” | Firearms | JAMA | JAMA Network