A new gun violence prevention organization has just popped up and their goals are worthy of mention here and elsewhere. The organization is called the Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance (CFSA) representing a coalition of physicians, law enforcement, prosecutors, lawmakers and gun violence prevention (GVP) advocates, and its goal is to reduce gun violence committed by or against kids.
You may recall that back in 2011, Granny Hammer got a bunch of her ass-backward Florida legislators to pass a bill that basically made it a felony for physicians to counsel patients about guns. The case is still awaiting a final appellate decision and there are several other dumb states that have enacted similar ‘gag’ laws. Until Docs vs. Glocks was enacted, the medical community had been fairly reticent to speak out about gun violence beyond the obvious policy pronouncements about the dangers of guns. But one thing that always seems to happen when it comes to any kind of public policy – push hard in one direction and someone will push back. Which is exactly what has happened when it comes to physicians and guns.
Last year eight of the most important medical associations, along with the American Bar Association, published a manifesto which declared that gun violence was a serious public health problem that required the medical community to get involved. And many of the national and state-level organizations followed by issuing their own statements of concern, as well as supporting and sponsoring educational programs to bring the issue of gun violence to the fore.
The CFSA represents another important step towards the involvement of the medical community in efforts to reduce gun violence, because although it is a physician-led organization, its membership embraces all of the major stakeholders who have an interest in GVP. According to the CFSA website, its mission is: “To reduce senseless child unintentional deaths and injuries in every state by advancing legislation holding adult gun owners responsible and educating the public how to keep children safe if a gun is in the home.” And to that end, their intention is to advocate for stronger and more comprehensive child access prevention (CAP) laws, of which there are no laws at all in more than 20 twenty states.
Of course the response of the Gun-nut Nation noise machine to physicians getting involved in gun safety is that such activity should not be within the scope of medical activities because most doctors don’t know anything about guns. This is the argument made by a handful of dopey doctors who run a website called Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, which happens to be supported by the 2nd Amendment Foundation, get my point?
But the fact is (note use of the word ‘fact’) that physicians have played a leading role in campaigns to protect children from all kinds of injuries and unintentional harm, including efforts to mandate harnesses and seat belts, safety barriers around in-ground pools, removing lead from paint and toys, and child-resistant bottle caps to guard against the ingestion of toxic substances and meds. I don’t hear anyone stating that doctors need to get certified as automobile mechanics before they remind parents to buckle in the kids. Nor for that matter do they need to become lifeguards in order to ask whether there’s a fence around that pool which just got installed in a patient’s backyard. But guns? Nobody except a licensed gunsmith should be allowed to voice an opinion about safety and guns, right?
I am pleased to be able to spread the word about the Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance and I urge you to give them your full support. Yea, yea, I know you just have to send Hillary a few more bucks this week but as regards the CFSA, you might also consider sending a donation their way. And just in case you missed their website address up above, don’t bother to scroll up because here it is again. Click here, check out their website and sign up for a great cause.