Dear Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May, Yves-François Blanchet:
Canada is a country of reason and civility, peace and the common good.
When it comes to creating public policy on guns, governments must weigh private privilege and industry profit against the far greater importance of public health and community well-being.
Physicians with Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns have witnessed firsthand the devastating physical and emotional trauma wrought by guns, from gender-based violence to suicide, homicide to accidental shootings of children. One of its founders, trauma surgeon Dr. Najma Ahmed, was on call the night of the mass shooting in the Danforth neighbourhood of Toronto.
The physicians point to a wide body of international research that makes three things very clear. 1. Death and injury by guns is a preventable public health issue. 2. Countries and jurisdictions with stronger gun laws have less gun injury and death. 3. Canada does not fare well compared to our peer nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on proliferation of guns and firearm mortality.
Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns is calling for a ban on assault weapons and handguns as part of a comprehensive legal and social policy approach to addressing the public health impacts of guns. The signatories of this letter support their call to action. We ask you to join us and commit to moving quickly on the doctors’ recommendations, including the ban.
Since launching their campaign, Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns has been endorsed by more than a dozen prominent medical associations and women’s organizations and supported by doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other health professionals from across the country.
Yet the campaign has also drawn the vitriolic ire of Canadian gun lobby groups who have engaged in online campaigns of harassment, launched frivolous complaints to the country’s largest professional regulatory college, and released a disturbing video warning that doctors will “own” responsibility for children being shot and killed if a handgun and assault weapons ban is implemented. On April 12th, the CEO of one of the groups compared a gun control advocate working with the doctors to lead Nazi propogandist Joseph Goebbels.
This is the discourse and tactics of the National Rifle Association in the United States. We have seen where that path can lead. Our history, culture, and politics are very different in Canada, yet we cannot be complacent. Our leaders must clearly state the gun lobby approach is not welcome here.
We need a made in Canada solution to gun policy. The security and well-being of our families and communities depend on it. Support a ban on handguns and assault weapons.
For immediate release