Doctors and other medical personnel in Halifax Wednesday intend to join a “national day of action” against gun violence.
Organized by a group of physicians called Canadian Doctors For Protection From Guns, protest-type events are planned for at least 13 cities across the country.
In Halifax, an information session is to take place at the IWK Health Centre, at 11 a.m., followed by a letter-writing and mailing session directed at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Members of the doctors’ group view gun violence as a public health issue. The organization, formed last year in Toronto, is calling on Ottawa to implement stronger gun-control laws.
“Specifically, the grassroots group, comprised of trauma surgeons, emergency room physicians, pediatricians, psychologists and nurses, paramedics and other health professionals is urging the federal government to pass Bill C-71, an act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to firearms, and to implement a handgun and assault weapons ban,” a release says.
It says guns in this country “represent a growing public health threat. Statistics Canada reports that firearm-related violent crime has increased 42 per cent since 2013.”
The release says a 2018 statement from the Canadian Pediatric Society notes there’s “an increased risk of suicide when guns are accessible.”
Canadian Doctors For Protection From Guns has posted a position statement on its website.
The Halifax region, like other municipalities in Canada, has been the scene of gun violence and occasionally endures a sudden spike in shootings.
In March, Halifax Regional Police responded to shots fired at a business on Gottingen Street. The incident happened at around 11 p.m., CBC News reported.
No one was injured by the gunfire.
Police in February arrested two people at a house on Young Street, following an RCMP investigation into stolen handguns.
Four guns were reported stolen about a day earlier from a home in Hantsport, Hants County, CBC News said. A police tactical unit was deployed to make the arrests.
Last summer, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police pledged to set up a committee to examine gun violence.
The association made the move during its annual meeting, held in Halifax last August, in light of deadly shootings in Fredericton and the Toronto area. In Fredericton, a gunman shot and killed four people, including two police officers.
He’s been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
Michael Lightstone is a freelance reporter living in Dartmouth