PSR/Sacramento is saddened and outraged by the despiccable December 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, and the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the surviving victims and to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured in the attacks. While the roots of terrorism are complex, these attacks demonstrate the horrific killing power of a small group of people armed with semi-automatic weapons.
Click on these links to read PSR/Sacramento's press release concerning President Obama's speech following the San Bernardino mass shooting; PSR/Sacramento President Dr. Bill Durston's article regarding the San Bernardino mass shooting and his letter to the editor in the Sacramento Bee concerning Governor Brown's veto of SB 374 in 2013, a bill that might have prevented the San Bernardino mass shooting; to view the interview with Dr. Durston on Fox40 concerning the "bullet button" loophole in California's assault weapon ban; and to read PSR/Sacramento's press release concerning the Paris attacks.
We would like to thank everyone who helped make the PSR/Sacramento Annual Dinner on Sunday, October 25th a huge success! More than 350 supporters attended the event, which featured keynote speaker Rebecca Peters. Ms. Peters was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal in 1996 for her part in achieving a complete ban on assault weapons in Australia within 13 days of the Port Arthur Massacre. Ms. Peters went on to found the International Action Network on Small Arms, and she is currently working with survivors of gun violence in Guatemala. She spoke at the annual dinner on the topic, "Preventing Gun Violence - An International Perspective." Ms. Peters described how she and her Australian colleagues were able to enact definitive gun control measures in Australia. Following the assault weapons ban, over a million firearms were removed from circulation; overall rates of firearm related deaths and injuries, already much lower than in the United States, declined even further; and mass shootings have been virtually eliminated. Ms. Peters challenged Americans to take similar action to stop the epidemic of gun violence in our own country. Click on this link to view Ms. Peters' keynote address. Ms. Peters was also interviewed the following day on Capital Public Radio by Insight host Beth Ruyak. Click on this link to hear the interview.
As noted above, PSR/Sacramento is deeply saddened by the recurrent mass shootings in our country, including the recent fatal shootings in San Bernardino, California; Roseburg, Oregon; Roanoke, Virginia; Lafayette, Louisiana; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Charleston, South Carolina. But in addition to being saddened, we are outraged by our government's lack of definitive action to stop these shootings, and we are committed to working ourselves to help end the shameful epidemic of firearm related deaths and injuries in our country. Please read below to learn more about PSR/Sacramento's work in the area of gun violence prevention, and contact us if you'd like to join in this effort. In addition to checking out the links above concerning the San Bernardino and Paris terrorist attacks and Rebecca Peters keynote address on Prevenging Gun Violence - an International Perspective, please also read PSR/Sacramento President Dr. Bill Durston's article entitled, "The Charleston Mass Shooting, The Confederate Flag, Slavery, and The Second Amendment."
The regular occurrence of mass shootings is unique to the United States among the other high income democratic countries of the world. As horrific as these mass shootings are, though, they are the tip of a much larger epidemic. Every year, approximately 30,000 U.S. civilians, including about 3,000 Californians, are killed by guns. The rate of firearm-related deaths for children ages 15 and under is almost 12 times higher in the U.S. than the rate in the other leading 25 industrialized countries of the world. Handguns, in particular, account for about 80% of all firearm-related deaths, but only a third to one half of all firearms owned.
While many people keep guns in their home for "protection," there is overwhelming evidence that guns in the home are much more likely to be used to kill, injure, or intimidate a household member than to protect against an intruder. In one of the best known studies on this subject published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was shown that for every one time a gun in the home was used to kill an attacker, there were 43 gun-related suicides, homicides, or accidental deaths of household members.
The Sacramento Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility believes that rates of firearm-related deaths and injuries in the United States are at unacceptably high levels and that health care professionals have a duty not only to treat gunshot victims but to work to prevent shootings from occurring in the first place. Accordingly, PSR/Sacramento works to educate health care professionals, policy makers, and the general public concerning the risks of guns in our homes and in our communities and to support sensible firearm legislation. For further information, please read the full PSR/Sacramento position statement concerning firearm related death and injuries in the United States, including a call for a ban on civilian ownership of handguns and reversal of the radical reinterpretation of the Second Amendment by a narrow five member majority of the current Supreme Court in the 2008 Heller decision. For more detailed information, please also read the fully referenced PSR/Sacramento white paper concerning firearm related deaths and injuries in the United States.
Following the December 2012 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, PSR/Sacramento chose as the prompt for its annual High School Scholarship Essay Contest the position statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics, published in April, 2000, which stated, "Firearm regulations, to include bans of handguns and assault weapons, are the most effective way to reduce firearm-related injuries." Click on these links to read the essays of the 10 winners of the 2013 scholarship essay contest and the article published by PSR/Sacramento Vice President Dr. Bill Durston following the Sandy Hook massacre.