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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Why are medical association PACs supporting pro-gun politicians?

Guns
An NRA course teaches participants how to fire a pistol in Illinois in 2012.
(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

To the editor: As a psychiatrist, I applaud Dr. Eileen M. Bulger’s and Dr. Ronald M. Stewart’s call for taking a public health approach to reducing death and injury from gun violence. However, professional medical organizations also need to stop protecting the political status quo.

Dr. Bulger and Dr. Stewart, members of the American College of Surgeons, reference a medical summit on firearm injury prevention attended by 45 of the largest medical, legal and injury-prevention organizations in the U.S.

A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Assn. demonstrated that during the 2016 election cycle, almost all of the 25 largest physician-organization-affiliated political action committees that attended this summit donated more funds to more U.S. congressional candidates who oppose firearm safety policies than to candidates in support of such policies.

The overall pattern of PAC donations was not consistent with the professional societies’ advocacy for firearm safety. Physicians who belong to these groups should consider withholding donations until their professional organization PACs stop this shameful practice.

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Liza Gold, M.D., Arlington, Va.

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To the editor: I am a conservative daily reader of the Los Angeles Times and I frequently find articles in the paper very slanted to the left. However, I found this presentation of strategies to reduce gun violence to be the fairest and most innovative I’ve heard.

Approaching the challenge of gun safety in this broad and unique way could be welcomed by Americans of all political stripes. I believe even the National Rifle Assn. would welcome this as a step in the right direction for our nation.

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Treating gun safety (not gun control) in the same way that our society has reacted over the past 40 years to automobile safety would bring a societal shift away from the political conflicts over gun management and control. I applaud The Times for including such a fresh perspective.

David Gustafson, Lakewood

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To the editor: I do not like guns, but I support the right of responsible citizens to have them.

After several robberies in my neighborhood, I understood the necessity for my peace and safety. That is why I selected a gun, found a safe place to keep it, and signed up for classes to learn how to maintain and accurately fire it.

The ability to defend oneself from harm was important to our wise founding fathers, which was why they gave citizens the right to bear arms.

Recall the resultant problems when government took away a citizen’s right to buy an alcoholic beverage. Let’s learn from previous mistakes.

Bonnie O’Neil, Newport Beach


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