June 3, 2022
WSMA Affirms Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis and Calls for Action
SEATTLE (June 3, 2022) After a tragic week of lives lost to gun violence, the Washington State Medical Association again affirms that gun violence is a public health crisis affecting our children, communities, families, friends, and patients. We urge lawmakers to act.
With the news of the shooting at St. Francis Medical Center in Tulsa-where former Seattle physician and WSMA member, Preston Phillips, MD, was among four individuals fatally targeted in yet another mass shooting-the WSMA calls on elected officials to move beyond rhetoric and take tangible action to solve this crisis. At the same time, the officers, board and members of the WSMA mourn the loss of our colleague and offer our sincerest condolences to Dr. Phillip's family, friends and colleagues as well as the loved ones of all victims of gun violence.
The WSMA calls for state and national commonsense policies that would reduce injuries and deaths stemming from firearms. Our schools, hospitals, grocery stores and churches should be safe, rather than places where we fear for our lives. More must be done, immediately, to address this crisis, including passage of legislation on waiting periods, background checks and other policies, such as restrictions on assault weapons.
The WSMA has longstanding policy in favor of legislation that "…would restrict the sale and private ownership of large clip, high-rate-of-fire automatic and semi-automatic firearms, or any weapon that is modified or redesigned to operate as a large clip, high-rate-of-fire automatic or semi-automatic weapon."
After several years of the WSMA supporting legislation aligned with this policy, this year Washington's legislature passed SB 5078, which prohibits the manufacture and sale of large-capacity magazines as well as HB 1705, which prohibits untraceable "ghost guns."
These are good advances in addressing the crisis, but more must be done, and quickly.
The Washington State Medical Association and our member physicians are at the forefront of public health and patient care. Every day we treat the victims of gun violence. We are the ones whose hands probe the wounds, who seek to heal the bodies and who help mend the minds of those impacted by senseless gun tragedy.
The WSMA will continue to actively advocate for and support policies aimed at encouraging firearm safety and preventing firearm-related injuries and death. We believe firearm injuries and death are preventable. Enough is enough.
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About the WSMA
The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 12,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.