These last few weeks have been marked by great loss of life by the recent shootings at Laguna Woods, Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa. We will always remember these tragic losses of life and the pain these communities are facing after these awful events.
We remember Dr. John Cheng, a Family Medicine physician, who lost his life while saving others at a Taiwanese Church in Laguna Woods. We remember the 10 lives lost at a racist massacre in Buffalo. We remember the 19 children and 2 teachers lost in Uvalde. We remember Dr. Preston Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Husen, and the 2 other individuals who were murdered at a medical clinic in Tulsa.
Your SDAFP is in alignment with CAFP and AAFP policy that firearm violence is a public health issue.
The CAFP recognizes that firearm violence is a public health issue and supports targeted public education campaigns on firearm violence prevention to improve public understanding of the risks associated with firearms and to enlist community partners in the effort to reduce morbidity and mortality from firearms. In addition, the CAFP supports California’s strong legal and regulatory protections related to firearms and commits to working with the AAFP and others to improve federal policy in that regard. (More of the policy can be found here: https://www.familydocs.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/CAFP-Policy-Manual-Update-Updated-10.29.21.pdf
The AAFP supports primary prevention strategies to reduce the injuries and deaths associated with gun ownership and violence. (Please read more of the policy here: https://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/prevention-gun-violence.html)
We know action is needed to prevent more senseless deaths. Your CAFP is supporting AB 2253 (Bonta, Mia D) which would declare that it is established policy of the state that gun violence is required to be recognized and addressed as a public health crisis. The bill would require all relevant state agencies, including the Department of Justice, to consider this state policy when revising, adopting, or establishing policies, regulations, and grant criteria, or making any expenditures related to the prevention of gun violence and increasing community safety. The bill would also create the Office of Gun Violence Prevention within the Department of Justice with the goal of developing a strategy, through collaboration with the Board of State and Community Corrections and other specified community members, to identify causes of gun violence in communities and to incorporate a public health approach to improve social determinants of health for communities most affected by gun violence. This bill would require the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to create a plan of action for how the Department of Justice and Board of State and Community Corrections will incorporate a public health approach to their gun violence prevention-related programs and services. AB 2253 would require the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to submit the plan to the Legislature no later than July 1st, 2023.
As Family Medicine physicians, we are a part of the communities we serve and feel when our communities are hurting. There are many emotions to process after these last few weeks. Please take time to care for yourselves, so that we may continue to care for our patients.
Melissa Campos, M.D.