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Dr. Ken Silk Refutes Michigan Gun Owners

February 28th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The Discussion On Gun Control Continues After Kalamazoo Shootings

FEB 23, 2016


Some groups are calling for gun control measures after shootings in the Kalamazoo area left six people dead, but not everybody agrees.

The Michigan Gun Owners organization say the core issue is not being discussed.  The group’s attorney, James Makowski, says it’s not a gun control issue, but rather a mental health one and that should be addressed.

However, those who would like to see more regulations, such as the Physicians for Prevention of Gun Violence group in Washtenaw County, say that’s not accurate.  Psychiatrist Dr. Kenneth Silk says most of the gun deaths in this country don’t occur in mass murders, but they occur because of impulsive actions people take.

There are about 500,000 licensed concealed pistol holders in Michigan.

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— Jorge Avellan is the Ann Arbor beat reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu

The Guardian gives PPGV an Op Ed

February 23rd, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

When I attended a national meeting that focuses on gun violence, the National Physicians Alliance (npalliance.org) meeting last year I paid attention to 2 discussions, one led by a medical journalist and one by a union organizer. The journalist taught us to use the media as a friend, the unionist to tryto find out what your target wants.Both were very professional!

Yesterday’s Op Ed in the Guardian was both of these. My coleader, Andy Zweifler and I had spoken to HB 4795 in Lansing.  I sent a copy of my remarks to the Guardian. HB 4795 is the Preemptive Punishment Bill that would stifle dissent like the Ann Arbor School Board outlawing “Open Carry” in schools by charging court costs and fines to the dissenting party. And while in Lansing I looked for a newspaper writer, but found none. Then on Sunday I saw the invitation to write an Op Ed column and away we go! (I had mailed several pieces to other papers in vain before.) Give them what they want.
So here is the link again or you can google the Guardian and my name. Our legislature wants guns everywhere- we at PPGV and NPA don’t- it’s killing us!

Chart Notes

February 23rd, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Hi Docs-

This has been a time- from beauty of upper Michigan winter slopes to the sadness and shock of Kalamazoo shootings all in a short space.
I had been invited to speak at the Snow Conference for MiACOG two weeks ago. Thanks to Dan McMurtrie for sending me to Jodie Jones. Jodie and Matt Allswede made me welcome at Crystal Mountain and after my presentation 20 new OB doctors joined PPGV. I also was introduced to Sam Bauer (through Tim Johnson) and Cheryl Gibson-Fountain from Beaumont Hospital. We want to become part of Detroit’s approach to gun violence and they may help. Mac Whitehouse sent our new OB members a warm welcome!
Mac and I also met 2/19 with Chris Mitchell, a VP for Government Affairs for the Michigan Hospital Association. He’s a friend and we will work together.
Then comes this shooting! What a devastating story and seemingly so senseless! Random deaths from another guy who “just lost it”? And our lawmakers in Michigan are bringing in new laws to make put guns in hospitals and schools!  And the latest is a “Constitutional Carry” bill to exempt concealed carry gun owners from needing to get any license. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Runestad said  “Bureaucracy and fees do not make people better drivers. Requiring a special permit to carry a concealed weapon just forces inefficient spending and inconveniences responsible gun owners.” Wow!
Finally, after giving testimony recently at a Michigan House hearing on a bill to punish local entities like the Ann Arbor School Board for defying state law and insisting on no guns in schools, we got invited by the Guardian to do an Op Ed piece. More on this SOON!

HB 4795- another PPGV statement

February 11th, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

My name is Andrew Zweifler.  I’m a physician.  The popular image of members of my profession is that of the curers of illness, dispensing powerful medications or performing lifesaving operations. But as knowledge of the causes of disease and disability has grown, doctors now are able to focus on prevention.

I serve on the Executive Committee of Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence (PPGV), a statewide organization with over 350 members.  As we have studied the problem of gun violence, one of the more useful things we have learned is how important it is to keep firearms out of the hands of “dangerous” people (domestic abusers, seriously angry people, certain depressed individuals.) We are convinced that requiring background checks on all gun sales would help to accomplish this, and every major national medical organization has come to the same conclusion (Reference). It is clear that this will not happen nationally in the near future, so it will need to be done locally. This brings me to House Bill 4795 (an amendment of PA 319), which, if it ultimately became Michigan law, would penalize “any local unit of government” and its employees for attempting to do just that.

This makes me angry for two reasons: First, it is certain that implementation of background checks for all gun sales would save lives, while also, by the way, saving tax dollars and secondly, this bill is the product of the same misguided mindset that has given us physician “gag” laws as well as prohibition of use of federal tax dollars to fund much needed research on gun violence.

PA319 is a bad law and HB4795 would make it even more offensive.

Mr Chairman, I have found myself wondering what the mandate of your committee actually is. If it is, as I suspect, to assist local governments in addressing their needs, I urge you to reject HB4795 and I also suggest that you recommend repeal of PA319 to the Legislature.


Reference:   Annals of Internal Medicineb; April 2015, Volume 162, No.7

Submission to House Local Gov’t Comm on HB 4795

February 11th, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence (PPGV) is a group of 350 doctors who as our mission, are “Educated and empowered to advocate for the prevention of gun violence.” We are raising our voice in opposition as scientists trained in gun deaths and injuries. We are bringing to you our concern for the right of local government. We come before you today to implore you to defeat this bill. This is undemocratic legislation.

You are the Local Government Committee. That implies that you believe in local entities and their wisdom to choose the best for each locality. It also implies that you believe that the people have kept some of their authority as citizens. Although they chose you as leaders they would not chose to be penalized for raising their voices when necessary.  This bill penalizes its citizens.   In gun issues this bill effectively denies a local government from making a decision on how to handle guns by penalizing it with fines and court costs. This bill then highjacks local government and stifles local control.

We have a gun problem in our country. With over 30,000 deaths a year we have 80 percent of the gun fatalities in the industrialized world (American Journal of Medicine, 2016). So local efforts to enhance gun safety should be supported. In fact, Ann Arbor (and Clio) have done exactly that. The school board in Ann Arbor wanted no guns in schools there- a position that had been the standard in the state for many years. As public health doctors PPGV know that shooting deaths in schools are 50 times[i] less likely  than outside the doors so not allowing guns made excellent sense. The boards acted in the best interest of their students. With this legislation such action would have been intimidated.

Some of you on the committee believe, like most physicians, in the sanctity of life and even belong to the Right to Life movement. You then, must help us protect life. Guns don’t belong in schools and the statistic above -50 times safer- is compelling that protecting students means keeping schools, hospitals, and all traditionally gun free places gun free. Don’t threaten the liberty of the citizens of Michigan by using this law to frighten those who would oppose a gun in every place.  Act in the tradition of Sarah Brady- a great Republican.

Jim Brady, President Reagan’s press secretary was shot in the head during an attempt on the president’s life. He and his wife Sarah began the Brady Campaign against gun violence and strove for universal background checks on gun purchases.  At one time a friend left a loaded gun in reach of James, Jr. when he was a small child. Sarah Brady was incensed and said later “I have fought against the gun lobby and anyone else who wants guns anywhere, at anytime, for anyone.”

Small government is a Republican virtue. Villages and townships know their needs. They often don’t need outside management. They don’t need penalties for making decisions that may be better than those of the state. Think of the Flint water crisis. The city knew its problems better than the state did. Don’t punish citizens for speaking and acting locally.  We can do better. Please defeat this bill.

Thank you.

Jerry S Walden, MD  Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence.   ppgv.org

[i] U.S. Department of Education & U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2008 6 (Apr. 2009)

HB 4795 – a Preemptive Poison Bill

February 11th, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)
Yesterday, 2/11/16,  Andy and I went to Lansing for a hearing on  HB 4795, introduced by Rep. Lee Chatfield.
 It was heard by the Local Government Committee, which Chatfield Chairs. He explained it as “putting teeth” in the law that forbids localities from creating law that the state has jurisdiction in. The NRA spoke first and longest to this bill on invitation from the chairman a NRA member.
What it is-
It is a “Punitive Preemption” bill.
  • Firearm preemption laws specifically prohibit local governments from adopting reasonable gun laws tailored to local conditions. In other words, preemption laws prohibit cities, municipalities, school districts, libraries, etc. from setting their own firearms policies.
  • “Punitive Premption” laws say that local governments (cities, school districts, libraries, etc.) can be assessed with legal fees and punitive fines if they even try to introduce firearms polices.
Andy Zweifler and I spoke against this bill. It stiffles our local attempts to do the “right thing” for our kids in schools and our hospitals- no guns.
I will attach my comments in another post.
Now, we need to gather voices to oppose this bill. Will your medical society cast a NO? The MAFP is coming on board. The Michigan Sheriffs oppose it.  We will need help from  other voices. If there is a coalition the governor likely will not want this bill at this time.

A Good Year- 2015! and our first Annual Report

February 1st, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

PPGV Annual Report 2015
Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence (PPGV) is a Michigan based group with its conception in 2007 following the shooting at Virginia Tech. and its organization in 2011 after US Rep. Gabby Gifford’s shooting in Tucson. In 2015 we grew to a statewide group of 330 doctors with a Mission Statement: “Michigan physicians, educated and empowered to advocate for gun violence prevention.” We have professors and deans, journal editors, over a dozen heads of departments in our group. We are scientists directed to act in the public interest during this health crisis of over 30,000 deaths, 70,000 injuries, and costs approaching $250 billion annually.
Operations. We function with a monthly executive committee (EC). We added extensively to the EC in 2015. Among those joining were: Ellen Arneson, PA, as our official secretary, Sonya Lewis, Jeffrey Tulin-Silver, William (Bill) Wadland, and Walter (Mac) Whitehouse. Cheryl Farmer rejoined the EC. AC (Chris) Elkins and Kenneth Silk plan to return. These additions allowed us to become a more effective unit and will help us grow.
Presentations. An important PPGV focus is education. We gave presentations of grand rounds to the Washtenaw County Medical Society, UM Public Health School, St. Joseph Pediatrics, and medical students at UM. The Michigan section of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (MIACOG) and a Washtenaw Co. womens’ professional group invited us to speak. We toured Michigan State Medical School’s sites- visiting Flint, Marquette, Traverse City, Midland, and Lansing with plans to return to Lansing and to Grand Rapids In 2016. We will present at the Snow Meeting of MiACOG in February. After these presentations with lively conversations we added 130 members- a 65% growth in membership and three new physician leaders. And we continued to add important patient and physician gun violence stories.
Advocacy. PPGV gave statements in Lansing before the legislature on two important bills. Dr. Walden presented in a losing cause before the House committee on a bill to disband local gun licensing boards. Washtenaw County lost its local board. Dr. Lewis also presented to the Mi. Senate on Bill 442 to allow guns in public places previously off limits including schools and hospitals. That bill passed the committee but is not voted out to the senate floor, partly due to our opposition. The NY Times quoted us on SB 442 http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/us/gun-owners-concealed-carry-schools.html and the Guardian quoted us on the phasing out of local gun licensing boards. gu.com/p/4ekc4/stw
Letters and Resources. Dr. Cheryl Farmer had a letter to the editor published in the Detroit Free Press advising readers that most major medical societies are striving to prevent gun violence. Dr. Zweifler developed “Children and Guns” a PPGV handout for primary care offices.file:///C:/Users/jswalden/Documents/Downloads/Downloads/PPGV_handout_Revised%255bcompressed%255d-1-1.pdf We are also distributing “Parents Guide to Home Firearm Safety” by the UM Injury Center http://www.injurycenter.umich.edu/sites/default/files/documents/firearm_safety_flyer_final_4-30-15.pdf as well as “Advice that Could Save Lives” View & Order Today! from the National Physicians Alliance (npalliance.org).
Meetings and Demonstrations. We attended 2 national meetings; NPA and Brady Campaign in Washington. These gave us good ideas and important partners on the national scene. We also went to Detroit and Lansing to join in demonstrations, at times wearing our white coats.
UM Medical School Curriculum. Physician-patient encounters related to gun violence prevention are being developed.
Partners. In 2015 PPGV partnered with the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, a multi- member group. We have relationships with local government, WCMS, MAFP including its Advocacy Committee, UM, MSU and WSU. Nationally, we have members in the NPA and its Gun Violence Task Force, Doctors for America, and the National Medical Council on Gun Violence.
Activism. We continue to work to ensure that our hospitals and clinics are gun-free. We want to protect our rights to speak frankly to our patients about their safety, to work for the repeal of Michigan’s “Stand Your Ground” law, and to support the policies of our state and national medical societies on gun violence. We hope to help make any needed preventive changes focusing on Michigan.
Upcoming: We look forward to bringing a national speaker in 2016. This will require significant fund raising. We hope to share this event with others in the Washtenaw County area or with Lansing or Detroit. We also look forward to visiting your hospital, clinic, or medical school campus to make a presentation. We have our work cut out in 2016.