Excerpted from Canadian Medical Association / Association médicale canadienne communication of July 15, 2021
CMA updates policy on firearms control: extensive consultations on public health impact
After consultations with physicians, provincial medical associations and national medical specialty associations, the Canadian Medical Association is releasing an updated firearms control policy.
Through this updated policy Opens in a new window, the CMA joins a number of other major associations, including the Australian Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, in recognizing firearms as a serious threat to public health, and one of the main causes of both intentional and unintentional injuries and death.
This policy affirms that gun violence is a public health issue, and that physicians should engage with citizens and government to reduce harm from gun violence,
Physicians have a unique perspective on firearms; as health care providers, they observe the lifelong health challenges that affect patients who survive firearm injuries. They also witness lives lost as a result of firearm use.
Firearm-related injuries and fatalities are a major cause of premature and preventable death in Canada. From 2013 to 2017, 3,703 Canadians of all ages died from firearm injuries — 75% of these deaths were from suicide while 20% of deaths were from homicide.
There is robust scientific evidence that a firearm in the home is associated with a higher risk of suicide and that safe storage of firearms is associated with a lower risk of completed suicides and unintentional injuries.