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CAEP Position Statement on Gun Control

  • Carolyn E. Snider (a1), Howard Ovens (a2), Alan Drummond (a3) and Atul K. Kapur (a4)

Executive summary

Firearm-related injury and death continue to be a significant problem in Canada. Since the 1990s Canadian emergency physicians (EPs) have played an active role in advocating for gun control. This paper updates the Canadian Association of Emergency Physician's (CAEP's) position on gun control. Despite a media focus on homicide, the majority of firearm-related deaths are a result of suicide. Less than 40% of firearm-related injuries are intentionally inflicted by another person. Since the implementation of Canada's gun registry in 1995, there has been a significant reduction in firearm-related suicides and intimate partner homicides. Proposed weakening of gun laws in Canada will have a significant impact on firearm-related mortality and injury. There must be instead an expansion of programs focused on prevention of suicide, intimate partner violence and gang-related violence.

The majority of intentional or unintentional firearm-related injuries involve a violation of safe storage or handling practice. The potential for future harm because of unsafe storage or handling or through gang conflict retribution supports our position that health care facilities report gunshot wounds (GSWs). Moreover, a nationwide surveillance system is necessary to support research and to guide future public policy development and legislation.

As EPs we must advocate for injury control. All firearm injuries and deaths are preventable, and we must advocate for a multifaceted approach in order to minimize this risk to our patients.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Emergency Department, St. Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond St., Toronto ON M5B 1W8; sniderc@smh.toronto.on.ca

References

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CAEP Position Statement on Gun Control

  • Carolyn E. Snider (a1), Howard Ovens (a2), Alan Drummond (a3) and Atul K. Kapur (a4)

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