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Dear PPGV Friends and Colleagues, 

I am furious. I cannot adequately encapsulate the grief, rage, fear, repulsion and frustration I feel as I try to process the trauma that took place at Oxford High School earlier this week. How do we understand the fact that a 15 year-old armed with a 9mm Sig Sauer semiautomatic pistol fatally shot four of his classmates and wounded seven other people (six students and a teacher)? How can we possibly pretend that we live in a civilized society when a child can commit acts of terror using a weapon of war his father purchased four days prior? READ MORE

Book Review By William C. Wadland, MD, MS

NRA Loses

May 13th, 2021 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on NRA Loses)

Dear Docs-
In Case you missed it the NRA or Wayne LaPierre’s attempt to get out of trouble with the New York courts by
moving to Texas failed. Spectacularly! This is the same NRA which had most US legislators walking away from gun injury prevention
legislation for years and arguably prevented federal research monies since the 90s is finally in a weakened state. The NYTimes story is below.
Maybe we can get some help with legislation on gun deaths.
Too many people have been killed or injured from our permissive approach to guns. A small step for us but a step.
In Rebuke to N.R.A., Federal Judge Dismisses Bankruptcy Case

The N.R.A. filed for bankruptcy this year as it sought to end run regulatory action in New York, but a judge rejected the strategy.

Wayne LaPierre, head of the N.R.A., speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.
Wayne LaPierre, head of the N.R.A., speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Danny Hakim

By Danny Hakim
May 11, 2021

The National Rifle Association’s attempt to evade a legal challenge from New York regulators was tossed out by a federal bankruptcy judge on Tuesday, in a ruling that cast further doubt on whether the group’s embattled chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, would remain at the helm after three decades in power.

The ruling was a victory for Letitia James, the New York attorney general, whose office is seeking to remove Mr. LaPierre and shut down the gun rights group amid a long-running corruption investigation.

Mr. LaPierre, the face of the American gun lobby, now battered by the N.R.A.’s internecine warfare and revelations of extravagant personal spending, had sought to end-run Ms. James by relocating to Texas and filing for bankruptcy there. But the gambit instead proved a strategic blunder: The testimony over a 12-day trial only buttressed Ms. James’s contentions of corruption, and led the judge, Harlin D. Hale, to declare, “The N.R.A. is using this bankruptcy case to address a regulatory enforcement problem, not a financial one.”

Judge Hale, the chief of the federal bankruptcy court in Dallas, also said Mr. LaPierre’s move to file for bankruptcy without telling the group’s board of directors, or his own chief counsel or chief financial officer, was “nothing less than shocking.”
And he warned that any effort to revive the case was likely to lead to another unpalatable outcome: the appointment of an outside trustee to take control of the organization and its finances.

When Mr. LaPierre began bankruptcy proceedings in January, it was not because his organization was in dire financial straits. He conceded in testimony that it was because of a complaint Ms. James’s office filed last year seeking to shut down the N.R.A. and claw back millions of dollars in funds allegedly misspent by him and three other current or former executives.

While the N.R.A. argued in court that it was already undertaking a regime of self-auditing and reform and had cleaned up its practices, Judge Hale wrote that “some of the conduct that gives the Court concern is still ongoing,” adding that the group appeared “to have very recently violated its approval procedures” for large contracts, and that “Mr. LaPierre is still making additional financial disclosures.” He also mentioned continuing “issues of secrecy and a lack of transparency.”

Ms. James, in a teleconference after the decision, said that “the rot runs deep,” and noted that the decision cited “ongoing and lingering issues.” In a statement, she added, “The N.R.A. does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions.” She also said the organization “cannot reorganize in Texas” without her office’s approval, which would not be granted amid a regulatory action.

Mr. LaPierre, in a statement, said that “although we are disappointed in some aspects of the decision, there is no change in the overall direction of our association, its programs or its Second Amendment advocacy.” The N.R.A. was noncommittal about whether it would appeal, but noted in a statement that “the court dismissed the bankruptcy filing without prejudice, meaning the N.R.A. does have the option to file a new bankruptcy case.

Asian targeted gun violence

March 23rd, 2021 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Asian targeted gun violence)
Sonya Lewis Mar 21, 2021, 9:07 AM (2 days ago)

Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

Our hearts are heavy following last week’s murders of eight people in Atlanta, six of whom were women of Asian descent. 

Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence is steadfast in our commitment to eliminating the interconnected scourges of racism, misogyny, and gun violence in our nation. As healthcare professionals, we condemn racist rhetoric that finds its lethal expression in cowardly acts of violence, and we dedicate ourselves to ending the cancer of armed hatred. 

Each of us has a role to play in speaking out against the American sickness of gun violence. Rejecting helplessness in the aftermath of trauma, there are steps we can take to further the causes of safety and justice. 

We urge you to contact your U.S. Senators to voice your support for H.R. 8, The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, and H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. These bills were recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, and if signed into law, would require background checks on firearms purchased from private sellers (H.R. 8), and would extend the time period in which background checks must be completed from three days to ten days (H.R. 1446). 

Similarly, we urge you to contact your U.S. Senators to voice your support for the reinstatement of the Violence Against Women Act, which was recently approved by the House. Provisions in this act will prevent individuals who are convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse or stalking from buying guns. This will also close the “boyfriend loophole” by prohibiting domestic abusers from purchasing guns even if they have never been married to, lived with, or had a child with their victim. 

Additionally, we urge you to maintain a personal and professional practice of active anti-racism. As healers, we must loudly and consistently condemn white supremacy when we see it. Through our interactions with patients, colleagues, legislators, friends, family, and the general public, we have the opportunity and obligation to be agents of transformative justice in our communities. 

As we face the future, we decry senseless bloodshed and we keep the victims and survivors of the Atlanta shootings in our hearts. May we honor their lives and memories with positive action.

The Repetition of Gun Deaths

March 23rd, 2021 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on The Repetition of Gun Deaths)

Sonya Lewis

8:12 AM (2 hours ago)

I posted the following reflection on my personal Facebook page but I thought I’d also share it with you. I’m just so sick and tired of living this way. Last night I dreamt our family moved to New Zealand.

Anyway, please be safe and thanks to all of you for working to be part of the solution.

– Sonya

It often happens that I give presentations about gun violence in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting. In fact, I frequently open my remarks by commenting on the timeliness of my talk. Of course, with over 100 Americans shot to death each day (most not in highly publicized incidents) it’s always timely. Today, in the wake of last week’s Atlanta murders, I had this experience once again. I was grateful to have the opportunity to speak about the physician’s role in the prevention of gun violence to members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute along with my wonderful colleague, Dr. Jim Peggs. I was sorry that our remarks were once again in the aftermath of tragedy.

Today may be the first time that a high profile massacre actually took place *during* my talk. In fact I didn’t learn of the Boulder incident until the presentation was over and I saw the alerts on my phone. It feels disorienting and demoralizing to have taken steps to counteract a crisis while that very crisis was literally in progress. I’m not giving up, of course, but I feel disillusioned, sad, and furious. I grieve for all victims and survivors of these heinous crimes. I grieve for the soul of our nation.

We must do better than this. We do not have to live like animals, hostages to the basest instincts of hate fueled criminals who are armed with obscene, easily obtained weapons and driven by blind rage. Human beings are capable of so much more than constant trauma and senseless carnage. Our American bloodbath is not freedom; it is self inflicted shame. It is the inevitable consequence of a citizenry supersaturated with guns and propelled by grievance. It is the price innocent people pay for unfettered access to cold metal tools of destruction.

We do not have to live in perpetual fear, at the murderous mercy of violent cowards. It is not this way in other countries. It does not have to be this way here either. We must reject helplessness and complacency and we must allow ourselves to feel the raw, sick, searing outrage that gun murder demands.

Gun violence is not normal. Gun violence is not civilized.

I never want to give timely remarks ever again. Ever.

March Notes

March 16th, 2021 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on March Notes)

March news- PPGV is a new 501c3 not-for-profit corporation! More on this soon.
The Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence (PPGV is a member) is calling for signatures to end guns in the Michigan Capitol in Lansing. This is “our lane”. Link to sign is at the bottom of the Michigan Coalition letter. https://michigancoalitiontopreventgunviolence.org/2021/03/04/guns-in-the-news-sobering-reminders-and-protective-action
Now the idea of a national Czar of GVP. Representatives Neguse and McBath have written President Joe Biden asking for the creation of a Gun Violence Prevention Czar. https://www.axios.com/joe-neguse-lucy-mcbath-gun-violence-czar-biden-18dc2c52-823b-458a-a26a-adb28506c279.html
Dr. Gregory Engel and Doctors for America are envisioning a Bureau of Firearm Injury Prevention both at the state and national level. Last year the Washington State Academy of Family Physicians passed a resolution to this affect and sent it to the American Academy of Family Physicians. It was favorably reviewed but not adopted. Plans are to bring it back again this year. If there is movement in various state societies to adopt the concept it will be more likely to succeed.
Some of us plan to present the resolution to the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians at the annual meeting this summer. The hope is that other Michigan societies will also support this. If you belong to say- Internal Medicine, Emergency Med, Psychiatry, OB-Gyn, etc. contact us if you would bring forward a resolution. The resolution used in Washington is available as a model. Now to bring it to Michigan.
Exciting times for PPGV!

Holiday Greetings

December 27th, 2020 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Holiday Greetings)

Holiday Greetings Doctors and Friends,

As 2020 comes to a close Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence are grateful for many things.

· We have vaccines against the COVID 19 virus and a path to safety that looks promising.

· We are also on a path to becoming a non-profit corporation- a 501c3. The application is being submitted by our treasurer Walter Mac Whitehouse.

· We plan a brief member survey in early 2021 to enable us to engage well with you. Look for it please!
President-Elect Joe Biden has committed to working for gun violence prevention. This gives us encouragement.

So Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! Stay safe and well, everyone!

PPGV Executive Committee

Chart Notes Summer 2020

August 28th, 2020 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Chart Notes Summer 2020)

Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence (PPGV) is in transition in 2 ways.

First, our co-founder and co-leader Andy Zweifler is stepping down from leadership and Sonya Lewis has been selected to fill this role. Andy will continue on our executive committee and we will continue to enjoy his energy and wisdom for gun safety. Thanks, Andy!   Sonya’s many attributes, especially as a writer and champion will be utilized even more fully.

Second, we are applying for not-for-profit 501c3 status. Mac Whitehouse, our treasurer, is leading this initiative. Donors will get to apply for tax relief on our completion. Stay tuned.

Is the NRA in hot water?https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=nra+sued+by+ny+attorney+general The NRA has long been the bane of gun violence prevention groups, even telling physicians in 2018 to “Stay in our Lane” and not use our voice to try to influence policy on GVP. This caused wide anger among physicians. The NRA executives including Wayne LaPierre, a GVP nemesis, have been sued for fraud. The charges are impressive. If LaPierre leaves maybe the new leaders will be less oppositional.

Who should we elect in November? Finding a Gun Sense Candidate on Moms Demand Action web platform will help you decide. https://gunsensevoter.org/candidates/# Then use your voice to get that person elected. For the past 2 years PPGV has supported positive legislation in Michigan, specifically the “Red Flag Law” or Extreme Risk Protection Orders. Nineteen states have the law.  We were successful in getting the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians to also advocate for this law, but without any Republican legislative help we have been stymied. We urgently need more gun-sense candidates. Your voice can help them win.

Responding to police violence and our history of racism

June 8th, 2020 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Responding to police violence and our history of racism)

Everyone is called upon for answers today. How are we physicians to respond to the recent deaths of African Americans at the hands of police and to the protests against police violence? We are deeply saddened and outraged by the senseless killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. These are but three recent examples from a centuries long, shameful list of brutal acts.

As healers, we must grapple with the ways in which white supremacy and white privilege have shaped American life. Though painful, recent traumas represent an opportunity for change. It is incumbent upon us to translate generations of suffering into progress. Each of us has a responsibility to act.

In 1903 W.E.B. Du Bois wrote The Souls of Black Folk. In it, he discussed the “Color Line” or segregation, calling it the problem of the 20th century. As we witness protests throughout our country and we review the senseless murders, disproportionate rates of incarceration of black people, and inequitable access to the “American dream,” it is apparent that the color line is alive in the 21st century.

Unfettered capitalism and years of systemic racism have resulted in rampant wealth disparities – just one of the markers of a just society. Research shows that white Americans tend to underestimate the wealth gap. In fact, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that black Americans’ wealth is only 9% that of whites, and this gap continues to widen. Furthermore, the lowest 25% of black families have no or negative wealth, whereas only 10% of white families experience this level of poverty. This didn’t happen by accident. Poverty is a form of violence especially when it follows our racist policies that have dogged people through our lifetimes. This must change. We must confront the economic and social disparities that plague our nation.

What are doctors to do? Those of us who are white must think critically of the advantages that white skin has conferred, listen to our colleagues of color, and take action to make amends. Systemic racism, like gun violence, is “our lane” and we must do better.

We must educate ourselves and address any implicit biases we may hold. Through honest introspection and genuine commitment to change, doctors are in a unique position to make a difference in the lives of our patients, and in society as a whole.

We, the Executive Committee of Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence support the demands of the protestors in the streets who are crying out for justice. They are asking us to come alive, to find our voices, to create a just America with a strong public health undergirding.

As a physician’s organization that advocates for the prevention of gun violence, we understand that gun violence cannot be separated from co-occurring societal ills, namely systemic racism. We hope that by writing this we will stimulate introspection, dialog, and action resulting in positive change.

We encourage you to deepen your commitment to creating a just society through education and through supporting organizations engaged in this work. We have listed just few of these below (there are many more). Additionally, it is critical that we vote for political candidates who will fight to eradicate structural racism in America.


Black Lives Matter

NAACP    Poor Peoples Campaign

White Coats for Black Lives

Black Psychiatrists of America


American Public Health Association – Racism and Health

75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice” by Corinne Shutack

Together we can make this country a better place to live. We must. Too many lives are at stake.

Executive Committee of Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence