Follow the Lead of San Jose – posted February 15, 2022

The U.S.A. has a problem with guns. About 40.000 people will die of gunshot wounds (GSWs) in America this year. Most victims will commit suicide, while others are murdered or are shot accidently. For every GSW victim who dies, about two others survive. Approximately 10,000 people are shot across the U.S. each month. The costs, financially and psychologically, are enormous.

In May 2021 a mass shooting at a light-rail facility in San Jose left the perpetrator and nine GSW victims dead. While unique to the victims and their families, mass shootings have become common occurrences in America. According to the Gun Violence Archive, thirty-three to eighty-six mass shootings took place each month in America during 2021. (A mass shooting is operationalized as four people shot.) In a given day, one to three mass shootings take place in our country.

I have recently evaluated a dozen employees who survived another Bay area mass shooting that occurred in San Francisco in 2017. These horrific critical events don’t just go away tomorrow. They are life-changing events. Now, one city in America is poised to say, “Enough is enough.” According to San Jose’s mayor, about $40M is spent annually on emergency services related to gun violence in that municipality. When one considers total cost of gun violence to that community, it’s estimated to be in excess of $440M.

The City of San Jose has recently approved an ordinance that will require gun owners in San Jose to carry liability insurance and pay an annual “gun harm reduction” fee. The ordinance doesn’t restrict gun ownership, yet sets policy based upon the financial consequences to a community resulting from firearm use.

My father was a combat medic assigned to a U.S. Army engineering unit in Burma during WWII. He was awarded the Bronze Star in recognition of his valor. Unlike my dad I didn’t have to travel to a distant land to witness weapons of war taking human life. It’s happening here at home, every day with no end in sight.

Doctors for America (DFA), with 20,000 physician and medical student members, believes we can make a difference by the clinical work we do in hospitals, ERs, clinics and private practices. DFA is also committed to bringing our fight for common sense gun safety laws to the attention of city officials across the U.S. Our message is simple. Follow the lead of San Jose. We want gun owners in New York City, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco and all major cities in the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave to shoulder some of the cost for the damage caused by firearms. Perhaps we are at a moment when public health and safety may prevail over the obsession America has with guns.

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