A group of Canadian doctors is calling for a national day of action against gun violence this month.
The call from the Canadian Doctors for Protection From Guns comes as Metro Vancouver grapples with its own wave of shootings, with at least 13 incidents since mid-September, several of them fatal.
“In the United States, evidence-based dialogue on gun control has been obstructed by the National Rifle Association and its political partners,” said Toronto neurosurgeon Dr. Sunit Das, in a video message.
“This has come at great cost. We cannot allow the same to occur here in Canada.”
The doctors describe gun injuries as a preventable public health issue, and say it is one they are all too familiar with, working on the front lines of the health-care system.
The group has highlighted recent firearm restrictions implemented by the federal Liberal government as a positive step, but are calling for further changes.
The doctors say they want a complete ban on all semi-automatic weapons, including handguns, changes to the way guns are classified in Canada, and a crackdown on borders to stop illegal guns from being smuggled into the country.
Surrey nurse Darlene Bennett’s husband Paul, himself a nurse, was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity two years ago.
She says government action is necessary to prevent a repeat of her family’s grief.
“It’s a burden that’s going to be with me for the rest of my life. I don’t want that to be happening to another family; I don’t want them to feel this pain and their children to witness such horrors that young people shouldn’t see,” she said.
“Things have to change, and this is a start.”
The doctors group has scheduled the day of action for Oct. 20, with events being held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.