The recent shooting that occurred at Allina Health Clinic – Buffalo Crossroads is the latest in a long line of senseless and tragic episodes of injury, trauma and loss of life due to firearms. This one hit close to home for us as family physicians. More than half of the providers at the Buffalo Crossroads clinic are family doctors.
Most of us have had the experience of trying our best to care for patients who disagree with our professional advice, particularly as we try to navigate intersecting challenges of addiction, mental illness and chronic pain. In order to do this difficult work and maintain a safe, healing clinic environment, we must trust in our lawmakers to do all they can to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them due to risk of harm to self or others. Unfortunately, and dangerously, this is not what is happening.
Enough is enough.
Along with acknowledging the pain our colleagues experienced and expressing our sincere sympathy, it’s time for Minnesota’s family physicians to raise our voices loudly and clearly in support of common-sense legislation that has been shown to decrease gun violence.
Two such bills have been introduced in previous legislative sessions:
- HF 694: criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private and internet sales.
- HF 1654: extreme risk protection law, allowing families and law enforcement to seek a judge’s order to temporarily separate firearms from someone deemed at risk of harm to self or others.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.
- Contact your state and federal legislators in support of gun violence prevention legislation. Find out who represents you.
- Promote safe firearm storage when talking with your patients. See besmartforkids.org for materials/resources.
- Reach out to the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) Chief Operating Officer Jami Burbidge, MAM, at email@example.com, to join us on the MAFP’s Gun Violence Prevention Working Group.
Together, we can make a difference. And we must!
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Post authors: Emily Benzie, MD, and Pat Fontaine, MD, MS, FAAFP, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians Legislative Committee Gun Violence Prevention Working Group