Reduce firearm injuries and death in Canada – Even one is too many
The incidence of gun violence in Canadian society has been increasing(1). Injuries from firearms are often fatal; for victims who survive injuries are catastrophic and life altering. Even one victim from this largely preventable cause of injury or death is too many. Canada ranks 3rd among the G7 and 8th among the G20 for age adjusted, standardized gun related mortality(2).The status quo is not acceptable.
Firearm related injuries or deaths, whether unintentional or intentional, are a preventable public health issue. Gun related injuries exact a huge cost upon society, beyond the physical and psychological burden of injuries for victims and their families. Gun related incidents erode the fabric of communities.
Research is clear that in countries with stricter gun ownership and safety laws, injury and mortality from guns are markedly less than in countries with less strict gun control legislation(3). Increased access to firearms also results in excess rates of suicide(4).
We call upon the federal government to address this public health crisis by way of two specific actions:
- The introduction of legislation and other tools to reduce the prevalence of firearms, such as restrictions on gun ownership, an amnesty program to recover firearms currently in circulation, and a strategic approach to reduce the illegal sale of guns and the importation of firearms from other jurisdictions;
- Funding and infrastructure for research on the epidemiology of firearm injury and death including the role of societal determinants such as poverty, mental illness, racial discrimination, and social isolation; as well as the effectiveness of strategies to reduce firearm related injuries and deaths.
Our position statement has been endorsed by the following national and provincial medical organizations:
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Canadian Association of General Surgeons
Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
Ontario Medical Association
Trauma Association of Canada
Canadian Critical Care Society
Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society
Canadian Neurosurgical Society
Jeunes médecins pour la santé publique
Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
Canadian Nurses Association
Federation of Medical Women in Canada
Facts stated in our position statement are supported by the following research:
1 - https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-28-0001/2018001/article/00004-eng.htm
2 - https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2698492
3 - https://academic.oup.com/epirev/article/38/1/140/2754868?searchresult=1
4 - http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/5/e1416