In the wake of mass shootings over a seven-day period in Gilroy, Calif., El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which killed 36 and wounded at least 51, and following repeated calls over the last year to designate gun violence a national health crisis, the American Medical Association, the California Medical Association and the Los Angeles County Medical Association issued strong reactions calling for action.
David H. Aizuss, MD
California Medical Association President
“This weekend, dozens of people were again gunned down in cold blood – this time in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Last weekend, it was in Gilroy, California, where children (including a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl) were murdered while at a festival with their families. Physicians are on the front lines of these tragic events, treating the wounds and injuries of the victims of this senseless gun violence. Policies to prevent these senseless tragedies are not matters of ideology or constitutionality. They are long overdue. We can no longer accept our leaders standing idly by while more innocent victims – children, parents, family members and friends – are struck down by weapons that have no place on our streets. On an issue where common sense seems nearly impossible to find in some sectors of our politics, it is time for the overwhelming majority of Americans who support common-sense reforms to demand action and bring some sanity to our nation's gun laws.”
Patrice Harris, MD, MA
President, American Medical Association
“The devastating gun violence tragedies in our nation this weekend are heartbreaking to physicians across America. We see the victims in our emergency departments and deliver trauma care to the injured, provide psychiatric care to the survivors, and console the families of the deceased. The frequency and scale of these mass shootings demands action.
“Everyone in America, including immigrants, aspires to the ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Those shared values – not hatred or division – are the guiding light for efforts to achieve a more perfect union.
“Common-sense steps, broadly supported by the American public, must be advanced by policymakers to prevent avoidable deaths and injuries caused by gun violence. We must also address the pathology of hatred that has too often fueled these mass murders and casualties.”
AMA members cited U.S. government data showing deaths by gun almost 40,000 in 2016, including suicides, and nearly 111,000 gun injuries, compared with U.S. deaths from diabetes that totaled almost 80,000 in 2016; Alzheimer's, 111,000; and lung disease, 155,000. Cancer (600,000) and heart disease (634,000) were the leading causes of death in the U.S. in 2016.
In reaction, LACMA president and LACMA CEO released statements to PNN:
Dr. Sion Roy
“LACMA physicians were heartbroken and horrified by the tragic mass shootings that took place in El Paso, Dayton, and California's own Gilroy these past 10 days. Gun violence is an epidemic in our nation that must be addressed. Through Docs4LA, LACMA physicians are committed to helping address the broad societal issues that affect health outcomes of our patients including gun violence. We will support our leaders and institutions that have the courage to take on this critical issue. As a start, we are proud to support California Assembly Bill AB879, which will regulate 3-D printing of firearms parts, but much more must be done. It is time for us to come together and pass legislation enacting common-sense gun reforms that are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans. The residents of LA County deserve better. Californians deserve better. All Americans deserve better.”
LACMA Chief Executive Officer
“Gun violence is a public health issue that destroys families, impacts communities and the physicians who care for those communities. Sensible gun laws are needed now, not after another horrific tragedy like the three the past 10 days. LACMA is vested, more than ever, in this issue. We support the Los Angeles City Council 2018 resolution, a 10-0 vote, that would require city contractors to disclose if they have any contracts or sponsorships with the National Rifle Association. We also applaud City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell for his leadership on this issue. This week, after back-to-back mass shootings, City Councilmen Henry Wesson and Greig Smith sponsored a resolution to urge the State of California to ban all assault weapons and the companies that make the materials used to make these weapons. It’s also been three years since the Dallas shootings of police officers and civilians. Parkland Memorial Hospital ER Surgeon Dr. Brian Williams was on call that night. He visited with LACMA leaders and members and shared his experience as part of “The Searing Journey” conversations. The nightmare that is assault weapons and mass shootings could have ended on July 7, 2016. Instead we have seen hundreds die and more injured since. Only a tsunami of public and political voices will create change.”