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Healthcare workers’ calls for gun control facing considerable opposition

The rise of gun control organization Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns has called for a ban on all firearms in Canada, but faces opposition from firearm lobbying groups such as the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights.



Arnold Samson | Report

At noon on Wednesday April 3rd, the gun control activism organization known as Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns (CDPG) held more than 15 rallies across Canada in support for tougher gun control laws.

This comes in light of Bill C-71, a federal act amending other federal and provincial acts and regulations such as the Firearms Act.

The CDPG was founded by Dr. Najma Ahmed who was working at St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto at the time of the Danforth shooting last year, which resulted in two deaths and 13 people injured.

Since that time, the CDPG under Dr. Ahmed and other healthcare professionals has been lobbying for stricter gun control laws, including an update of Bill C-71, an act that was created to amend other acts regarding the legality, ownership and use of firearms.

The CDPG argues that firearms are a public safety issue, and that according to Statistics Canada, firearm-related violent crime has increased 42 per cent since 2013.

During the protest, the CDPG called on the government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to advocate for a ban on “handguns and assault weapons” across Canada.

The CDPG also states on their website that “Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns has concluded that we must treat gun related injury and death the way we treat other public health issues, such as smoking and road safety.

The group looks forward to working with governments, health and legal stakeholders, and all concerned Canadians to respond to this urgent public health crisis.”

Link: CDPG Website Homepage

While the protest was effective and nation-wide, many people have also been disavowing the CDPG as an experienced and qualified group in terms of firearms legislation.

The head of the Canadian national gun lobby, the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR) promotes their vision as “to maintain, protect and promote private firearm ownership.”

The CCFR is mainly inclusive of Canadian firearms owners, and regularly campaigns for firearms laws to be less restrictive.

Before the nation-wide protests, the CCFR released a video explaining issues in the arguments that CDPG makes, primarily that simply using their qualifications as healthcare professionals is not enough reason to claim expertise on firearms legislation, as well as that a ban on all firearms would not be effective and would negatively impact law-abiding Canadians that happen to own and operate firearms.

A report released by Public Safety Canada in 2018 states that “the vast majority of owners of handguns and of other firearms in Canada lawfully abide by requirements, and most gun crimes are not
committed with legally-owned firearms.”

Link: The CCFR’s video response to the protests

Link: PSC report on firearms in 2018

With the rise in violent crimes related to firearms, including a situation of the recently reported sounds of gunshots heard close to Humber College’s North Campus, the atmosphere surrounding Bill C-71 and the amendments it would make, seem to have a larger impact on Canadian politics than ever before; the CDPG as well as the CCFR are coming to a head with advocating for updated national firearms policies.

Featured Image: CDPG protest at United Church in Toronto, Google Images ■

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