October 4, 2017

#VegasStrongYesterday morning I arrived at the gym and the TV was showing the horror from Sunday night. I thought, “Again? The worst ever?” Unbelievable. Unexplainable intent and unexplainable process that someone could get that many weapons to carry out such a despicable crime.

Then I started to feel rather useless and futile. I thought, here we go again, trying to lobby the lawmakers to have sensible restrictions on ownership to limit military grade weapons for personal use, waiting periods for gun ownership, and training/testing/licensure for gun ownership. It seems that each horrific incident brings this issue to the front, but then it fades away over time as other pressing issues like the opioid epidemic retake their position on center stage.  

Similar to the ongoing efforts to have healthcare as a basic right, our country continues to be polarized and unable to move forward as the NRA and the Second Amendment seem more important than the rights of an individual to live without the fear of random execution.

I wish I had the answers. I wish I could put a positive spin on gun violence. My only consolation is that I am not alone in my wishes and that maybe someday we will come to our senses and no longer allow military grade weapons to be available to the general public. Maybe someday the American people will create an amendment to the Constitution that will allow us to live free of terror of execution by military weapons.

In June 2016, after the Florida mass shooting, the AMA adopted policy on Gun Violence, a public health epidemic. Unfortunately, with the current political climate, change to address this issue is unlikely. Despite this, there are many who continue the fight for change and we stand with them.


Deb Harrigan, MD

Please send comments or questions to president@nhms.org.