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Take Action to End Gun Violence

May 24th, 2018 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Take Action to End Gun Violence)

In the wake of yet another horrific school shooting, this time at Santa Fe High School in Texas, we are again shaken to our core, outraged over the ceaseless and senseless epidemic of gun violence in this country. As we have said too many times, thoughts and prayers are wholly ineffective in preventing the over 33,000 gun deaths that occur annually in the United States. We do not have to live like this, in perpetual fear and constant grief. We must continue to speak out, to act, to educate, and to vote for leaders who value human lives above their NRA sponsored political self-interests. We must not allow ourselves to succumb to despair or hopelessness. Here are two actions that we can all take immediately:

  1. Advocate forMichigan House Bill 4706/7, the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Bill. 

 This is a piece of legislation, introduced by Rep. Robert Wittenberg, currently sitting in the Michigan House Judiciary Committee that would prohibit the purchasing of firearms and allow for the temporary removal of guns from individuals who are at high risk of harming themselves or others. Multiple states have passed similar legislation, including Florida, whose legislature passed a similar bill following the February Parkland massacre. ERPO bills are sometimes referred to as Gun Violence Restraining Orders or Red Flag Laws.

PPGV Executive Committee member, Dr. Mac Whitehouse has drafted a template-letter that we encourage you to send to all members of the House Judiciary Committee. In order for Michigan’s ERPO bill to progress, it must first have a hearing. In order for that to happen, we must educate the Judiciary Committee members about its importance and utility in preventing future carnage. Below is the text of Dr. Whitehouse’s letter. At the end of this email, I have included contact information for each of the Judiciary Committee members. You can cut and paste the body of this letter into an email and send it to each representative. This should not take more than fifteen minutes. Thank you for taking this important action today.

Dear Representative _____________,

      I am writing you regarding HB 4706-7. The bill would enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) that allow weapons to be temporarily removed from individuals who, based on “a reasonable cause to believe”, pose a danger to themselves or others; this order would also prohibit these individuals from purchasing firearms. Importantly, due process is carefully outlined in this bill to protect the individual’s rights. As you know, this bill was presented in June 2017 and has sat in your committee since then without any consideration.

     ERPO represents an important tool to protect individuals from using a gun to harm themselves or others during a period of personal strife. There are over 33,000 deaths every year due to guns in the United States. Importantly, two thirds of those deaths are suicides. Gun related suicides have increased 32% in Michigan since 1999. Attempted suicide is successful in 90% of cases as opposed to 10% when non-gun methods are used. The ability to remove access to guns from severely depressed individuals is critical in reducing gun-related suicides. A similar law was enacted in Connecticut. Researchers have estimated that one suicide has been prevented for every ten gun seizures since enactment of this law.  

     As a physician, I am often the first to identify persons at risk to committing harm to others or themselves with guns. This law will provide a vehicle by which I can help Michigan families save lives. I urge your support.


 (YOUR NAME – and feel free to mention your affiliation with Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence)


  1. Join us at the Wear Orange Block Party in Ann Arbor on June 2nd!

PPGV is proud to collaborate with the Washtenaw County Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to co-sponsor the Wear Orange Block Party on Saturday, June 2nd from 1 to 4pm at Liberty Plaza in Ann Arbor. Here is a link to the event on Facebook, which I hope you will share widely. I will be speaking at the rally, representing PPGV along with many other gun violence prevention activists. We hope to have a very large turnout to make it clear that our community has had ENOUGH gun violence and we are speaking out with a strong and unified voice. If you are in the Ann Arbor area, please join us and spread the word!

Thank you very much, as always, for your support of PPGV and your commitment to ending gun violence in our communities. We do not have to live like this, and we must not ever accept daily carnage as normal. We must be relentless in our pursuit of health, safety, and peace in a world free from the ever-present threat of gun violence. Together, we will make a difference.


Sonya Lewis, MD, MPH

Please click here to visit our Facebook page and “LIKE” PPGV.

Is Florida a Game Changer?

February 21st, 2018 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Is Florida a Game Changer?)

Two events that happened in conjunction with the Parkland, Florida shooting deaths of 17 included an interview that I did for a local TV channel that compared the two sides of the gun issue

and the student outrage at a society that doesn’t keep them safe and allow them to study and learn.

Here is the Channel 5 Flint and Saginaw interview done on Feb. 16.

My opponent: http://www.wnem.com/clip/14132896/michigan-coalition-of-responsible-gun-owners

PPGV response: http://www.wnem.com/clip/14132897/physicians-for-prevention-of-gun-violence

And here is the strong speech from Emma Gonzalez, a Parkland student. We know that after this speech and amidst the burials of the 17 the students went by bus to the state capitol in Talahasie to lobby for protection from more gun violence.


And in Michigan the family physicians and pediatricians are planning  cooperative action on this crisis of violence.

Gov. Snyder letter from James Peggs, MD

September 4th, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Dear Governor Snyder,

In anticipation of your facing several new bills to reach your desk, HB 4416, HB 4616, and SB 366 I urge you to take a principled stand on behalf of the health of your fellow Michiganders and veto such legislation.
As a member of Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence I fear these new laws would create even greater risk to the Public Health than currently exists. Please do not make it even easier for gun violence to affect the citizens of this state.

Respectfully, James F. Peggs, M.D.

Earlier Letter from Cheryl Farmer, MD Summer 2017

September 4th, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Earlier letter.  Summer 2017

Dear Governor Snyder,

I’m an Internist and a board member of Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence.  Our 500+ member group works to reduce gun violence  through the application of public health principles.  We strongly oppose HB 4416, HB 4417, HB 4418 and HB 4419.

There is an EPIDEMIC of gun violence in this country.  According to the American Journal of Medicine, March 2016, the overall U.S. gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than the next closest country.  For 15-24 year olds, it is 49 times higher.  The heroic notion that if everyone is armed no one will get hurt is not supported by the data.

Last month there was unanimous opposition to these bills from both your state-wide Police Chiefs’ and your  state-wide Sheriffs’ organizations, who believe these bills would endanger officers and civilians.  Please VETO these  bills if they come to your desk for signing.

Cheryl Farmer, MD

Letter to Gov. – Action Needed

September 4th, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Hi Docs-

Welcome to Fall and a Good Labor Day to you- a time for action.

PPGV and Moms Demand Action (MDA) are working on a similar tactic; we can stop the Michigan legislators that are pushing several bad gun bills- permitless concealed carry and 18 year old concealed carry, etc.  this fall. (see below for nos.)

Our groups are focused on the governor- he needs to veto these bills. PPGV is sending physician letters to the governor outlining the reasons to oppose. MDA is asking members to seek out important people (like you) to write the governor a letter.

Here’s an example from Dr. Cheryl Farmer.


Dear Governor Snyder,


The Southern Poverty Law Center says there are 28 hate groups operating in Michigan today, including KKK chapters.  When one or more of them decides to stage a Charlottesville-style event here, how do you want it to go?

Virginia’s Governor said one of the problems in policing the Charlottesville demonstration was that the white supremacists were better armed than law enforcement.  The solution to this lies not in more and better arms for Michigan law enforcement , but in refusing to allow the further and deeper penetration of the gun culture into our state.


I am one of 500+ members of Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence.  Allow me to share some data with you:  “States with right-to-carry concealed handgun laws experience increases in violent crime, according to Stanford scholar” http://news.stanford.edu/2017/06/21/violent-crime-increases-right-carry-states/ ; “States with Weak Gun Laws and Higher Gun Ownership Lead Nation in Gun Deaths, New Data for 2015 Confirms”  http://www.vpc.org/press/states-with-weak-gun-laws-and-higher-gun-ownership-lead-nation-in-gun-deaths-new-data-for-2015-confirms/#.WWLsC8owrpQ.facebook

Four bills that just passed the Michigan House (HB 4416, HB 4417, HB 4418 and HB 4419), with versions now pending before the Senate, would make it even easier to obtain and open-carry guns. The State Police Association and the State Sheriffs Association oppose these bills, yet it seems they are on track to pass.

Please plan to VETO them if they come to your desk.  Keep the public safe.  The Second Amendment very clearly gives the right to bear arms to “A well-regulated militia…”  You have the last word on regulation.  Please VETO.


Cheryl Farmer, MD

To write your letter to Rick Snyder use the link to the Governor’s site for comment:  https://somgovweb.state.mi.us/GovRelations/ShareOpinion.aspx

Go to the PPGV website for other letters from PPGV to use as you like. Please write – your signature is what really counts!

More from Michigan Radio below.


Want to carry a concealed gun without a permit or training? Michigan lawmakers want to help.



Fast Moving Gun Bills in Michigan

May 30th, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

PPGV Legislative Update.    May 2017

A recent appeal –

The NRA is pushing a law that would force all 50 states to allow anyone to carry loaded, concealed guns in public, with no background checks or training. At Everytown for Gun Safety, we believe this puts us all at risk. But the NRA won’t be satisfied until anyone — even dangerous people — can carry a gun anywhere. Sign the petition to Congress: Don’t let Donald Trump and the NRA gut our gun laws. Say NO to the NRA’s national concealed carry reciprocity bill.

This is almost exactly HB4416- the law we just testified to in the Michigan House. So far Drs. Andy Zweifler, Cathy Keller, Cheryl Farmer and I have testified and Walter (Mac) Whitehouse and Stuart Dombey have written letters all opposing this permit less concealed carry law. Part of the argument for this is that Indiana already has it and we allow them to carry into our state. Rep. Michelle Hoitenga, the sponsor, says fees prohibit poor people from being able to carry. One major point is that we have gone from 50,000 in 2001 to over 600,000 concealed carry permits- almost 10% of our citizens. Our process while minimal is arguably working and the police don’t want this change. They now deny a few potentially dangerous applicants due to misdemeanors and other restrictions. We know that more guns and weak laws lead to more shootings. I oppose HB4416. My testimony follows. http://HB 4416 Doc1

Cheryl Farmer’s testimony included an exchange from the committee chair, Rep. Runestad, who said that the current process only asks the permit holder to shoot 30 rounds (so isn’t necessary). Dr. Farmer responded that maybe it was inadequate. She then cautioned that we all are responsible for our decisions and this act will likely cause more death. A representative replied that “physician error is the second leading cause of death”. They also challenged the police over second amendment rights to carry trumping police needs for safe interaction with motorists. Dr. Farmer’s testimony here. http://CF test. HB4416

Here is also a link to the Detroit Free Press article at the initial hearing.  http://www.freep.com/story/news/2017/05/16/gun/325838001/

10 Years after Virginia Tech

April 13th, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

From States United to Prevent Gun Violence comes this notation:

10 Years Since the Virginia Tech Shooting. On April 16, 2007, in one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history, 32 students and teachers died after being shot by a single gunman on the campus of Virginia Tech. Many survivors and relativies of victims have dedicated their lives to gun violence prevention. Leading up the anniversary, memorial events for the Virginia Tech community are being planned in several states.”
In 2007 after this mass shooting  Andy, Angelos and I decided the physician voice needed to be stronger and searched for a method.
We began with a letter to our mayor asking him to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns. After a few months we met with him and were refused. (He would join when approached with our next effort). Discouraged we paused. Then after the Tucson shooting of Gabby Giffords in 2011 we began asking you to join us and we became a real, focused group of now 400 physicians. So we remember well those who died at Virginia Tech as well as the over 80 who die each day of gun violence in this public health crisis-disaster really- that goes on day after day in our country and that is 30 times that of Great Britain.
Remember April 16!
We can be better.  Thanks for what you already do .  Stay tuned for more plans for 2017.
For more information like us on Facebook (physiciansforthepreventionofgunviolence) orTwitter (PPGV.org). Our website is ppgv.org.

PPGV 2016 Annual Report

February 28th, 2017 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

We hope you will enjoy reading PPGV’s 2016 Annual Report. We had a productive year and we are pleased to share our accomplishments with you.

PPGV 2016 Annual Report

Happy New Year

January 21st, 2017 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Happy New Year, Doctors!

We have a brand new year and an exciting one at that! Our issues with gun safety and the gun violence crisis will share the spotlight with others in health.

We 400 physician scientists still have a good deal to say about the state and nation’s health.

In 2017 We are hopeful that better data backed by congressional funding of the CDC will inform our science. This, of course, is one of 4 laws that many medical societies supported in the “Call to Action” in the Annals of IM.https://www.acponline.org/acp-newsroom/more-than-two-dozen-organizations-join-call-by-internists-and-others-for-policies-to-reduce-firearm

At year’s end PPGV had two happy events in Michigan. The Ann Arbor School Board (AASB) was victorious in its defense of the right to prevent guns in schools at a hearing before the State Board of Appeals. Several of us heard the court question the plaintiffs and rule unanimously (3-0) against them. No guns in Ann Arbor schools (like no guns at court). Dr. Sonya Lewis’s high school daughter, Sarah, was interviewed on MLive and was passionate about her view that guns were unwanted at school. Listen here. http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/12/gun_advocates_wary_of_oral_arg.html#incart_2box_news_ann-arbor

Hopefully this decision supporting local school boards’ rights will make the law called “preemptive punishment” that was introduced last year harder to reintroduce. That law saddled local entities with court costs if they chose to oppose state law and lost. This punishment would block dissent through the courts in such cases as AASB’s.

And in December we met with Chris Matus, Senator Gary Peters’ Regional Director. We felt we had an excellent meeting. We know that as a new US senator we were getting early attention from a powerful person. Mr. Matus agreed that the public health model is best and that reframing children’s deaths as “preventable, not accidental” is also important. Phone calls to all our representatives are the best value when we advocate. The meeting was attended by Drs. A. Zweifler, C. Farmer, W. Whitehouse, S. Dombey, and J. Walden. Follow-up is planned.

Again, Happy New Year! Thanks for your support of PPGV!

Next meeting Jan 17 at 7 PM. Let us know if you would like to attend.


The Power of Organized Medicine

December 6th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Dear Docs,

Recently the American Medical Association announced that it has resolved to join the battle to promote the “Call to Action” raised by eight national health professional organizations and reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2015.

The AMA now joins The American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Psychiatric Association, and The American Public Health Association in calling for:

  • Universal background checks
  • Restrictions on civilian use of military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines
  • Elimination of “Gag Laws”
  • CDC funding for gun violence research.

These medical organizations are joined by the American Bar Association, which asserts that the recommendations are not in conflict with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Cheryl Farmer, a member of our PPGV executive committee and the Michigan State Medical Society, authored the resolution that led to this result. Cheryl wondered why the AMA wasn’t a part of the 2015 “Call” and wanted “the Big Mama” to join us in the fight. She took her resolution from PPGV to the Washtenaw County Medical Society to MSMS and finally to the AMA. And we won! Read about it here:  https://wire.ama-assn.org/ama-news/ama-joins-call-action-stem-tide-gun-violence.

This success shows the way in which organized medicine, through our county and state medical societies, helps physicians protect the public interest. It also shows how PPGV (430 members strong, and growing!) can use its focused commitment to the prevention of gun related injury and death to steer the power of the AMA toward the righteous cause of sensible gun laws. Thanks go out to all: Dr. Farmer, PPGV, WCMS, MSMS, and the AMA!

Statements from our new president–elect suggest that the work ahead of us may be even harder. But as we have seen, much can be accomplished when we work together! Cheers!