Chart Notes – Summer of 2022
Jerry Walden, MD
Finally, a federal legislative victory for us- the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a first since PPGV was formed in 2011, has been signed into law by President Biden.
According to the Economist the law “reassured gun-control advocates while also appealing to those on the right concerned about preserving the constitutional right to bear arms. It passed in the Senate by 65 votes to 33. The House passed it the following day, with 14 Republicans joining the Democrats, and President Joe Biden swiftly signed it into law. Christian Heyne, of Brady, a gun control group was sitting in the Senate gallery with his sister for the vote, along with other shooting survivors. Their parents were shot, their mother fatally, by a gunman in 2005. “It’s not going to solve gun violence on its own,” he says, but it provides a path for “creating real change around guns”.
The package provides billions of dollars for mental-health services and school safety, as well as grants to help states pass and implement red-flag laws, which take guns away from those deemed a danger to themselves or others. The law enhances background checks for gun buyers under 21. It closes the “boyfriend loophole” to prevent domestic abgusers from buying a gun for five years. It also clarifies and expands what a “federally licensed firearms dealer” is, to ensure more buyers get background checks. And it creates new federal offences for interstate gun trafficking and “straw purchases” (buying a gun on behalf of someone prohibited from possessing one).
Lawmakers began to realize that “safety is not just good policy, but it’s good politics,” says John Feinblatt of Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-reform group. Americans wanted action. They were angry and frightened after recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. The sense of urgency mattered. Past efforts took months and lost momentum.”
It has been a long wait for good law, but we at PPGV knew it was a long battle when we began. David Hemenway. director of the Harvard Injury Center told us early-on that the US has too many guns and too weak laws. Just now a California study found that one is twice as likely to die of homicide if there is a gun in the home- again showing that guns don’t make you safer. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/P22-0004
PPGV thanks you for helping make our patients safer. Let’s celebrate our victory and ready ourselves for another!
Arnold Ventures and Joyce Foundation 7.13.21
Dear PPGV Friends and Colleagues,
Exciting new things are happening with gun violence prevention efforts in Michigan! As some of you may know, a new group has formed called End Gun Violence Michigan (EGVM) whose goal is to advocate for sensible gun safety legislation. If efforts to pass laws prove to be unsuccessful, then the group will consider whether a gun safety ballot initiative for the 2024 election is a realistic path forward. EGVM is putting together a wide coalition of groups and individuals from across the state who are passionate about making Michigan a safer place to live. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Jim Peggs who has agreed to represent PPGV in this endeavor moving forward. It is critical that medical and public health professionals have a voice in the effort to end gun violence in our state. Thank you, Dr. Peggs!
End Gun Violence Michigan is planning a Lobby Day on Wednesday, April 13th to advocate for the passage of gun safety legislation that a Michigan State legislature task force has been discussing. It is critical that our representatives know how strongly we support measures such as safe storage of firearms, universal background checks, and prohibiting guns in government buildings.
PLEASE REGISTER TODAY TO ATTEND LOBBY DAY TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!!!
While in-person attendance at meetings with legislators is an incredibly powerful experience, it is understood that this is not feasible for everyone. If you are unable to participate in lobby visits in person, there will also be an opportunity to attend meetings via Zoom. If you’ve never participated in a lobby visit before, don’t worry. There will be a virtual training on Thursday, April 7th.
The push to pass sensible firearms legislation is an important step in our advocacy efforts, as we want to make sure we have exhausted all options in moving things forward. If the legislature does not choose to act, then the next step will be to give serious consideration to creating a ballot proposal.
As always, thank you for your dedication to the prevention of gun violence. We know there are many steps we can take to reduce preventable firearms-related deaths and injuries in our state. While no one law or intervention in itself will solve the problem of gun violence, approaching the issue from a variety of angles with unceasing determination will enable us to make important progress in keeping our patients and our communities safe.
Sonya Lewis, MD, MPH, PPGV Vice President
Jerry Walden, MD, PPGV President
On behalf of the PPGV Board of Directors
Chart Notes Winter-Spring 2022
Docs and Friends,
I hope this finds you well and that the COVID variants have been manageable in your life.
As they say in the media-BREAKING NEWS! We have had not one but two important news stories of consequence to PPGV and our goal of gun safety.
First is the new campaign End Gun Violence Michigan. In January 103 leaders from across Michigan attended a call and pledged to change our gun culture. The press release came on Valentine’s Day that a ballot initiative would be prepared for 2024. Faith leaders, gun violence prevention groups (PPGV), survivors, politicians and others tired of years of legislative inaction said enough. “If the legislature won’t protect us, we may have to pass common sense gun safety laws ourselves.” This is the beginning. For more information go to http://www.migunsafety.org
Then there was a victory in the settlement of the case against Remington by the Sandy Hook victims and their families. This payment of 73 million dollars marks the first time that a manufacturer has had to pay for shooting negligence. The result was directly because the plaintiffs were claiming that Remington marketed their guns, specifically in this instance Bushmaster (an AK47) originally a weapon of war to civilians. It is known that the weapons have become weapons of choice in mass shootings. Remington tried to argue that they had nothing to do with Adam Lanza, the killer, but it became known that he watched hours of video games with these weapons and Duct-taped magazines together as depicted in a version of the game. It was a drawn-out battle, but justice finally came.
Today, Feb 21, in the New York Times Elizabeth Williamson details this story and weaves in another of Lenny Pozner who also lost a child at Sandy Hook. Pozner has taken on disinformation and conspiracy spreaders as his post-shooting vocation with his organization HONR. His is also a brave story. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/us/politics/sandy-hook-legal-victories.html?campaign_id=
We will see a better Michigan.
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