Gun violence is an epidemic and “we solve epidemics with medicine, not politics”

Canadian doctors have joined their American colleagues in declaring that the medical profession has a duty to address firearms safety. The topic has received much attention of late after an update to a position paper by the American College of Physicians (ACP) caused an online dispute between physicians and the US gun-rights lobby group, the National Rifle Association (NRA). “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” the NRA tweeted after Annals of Internal Medicine published the ACP’s position paper on preventing firearm deaths and several related research articles. American doctors immediately responded with tweets and opinion articles of their own, declaring their right to engage in the gun control debate. “Physicians take care of people who are experiencing the impact of gun violence. We see first hand the consequences,” says Dr. Ana Maria López, president of the ACP. “And like with any other public health issue, we think about what can be done.” Canadian doctors are showing support for American physicians and for the medical profession’s place in developing policies on gun safety. “Just because there is a political border, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned with other citizens of the world,” says Dr. Natalie Yanchar, past-president of the Trauma Association of Canada. “It’s almost a humanitarian crisis, and from a global perspective, our voice needs to be heard.” Canada should also be engaged in shaping its own response to gun violence, even if the problem is not as severe as across the border, […]

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