Following the tragic incident at Michigan State University, I have been asked by several members, “Does MSMS have a position on firearm safety?” and “Will we be involved with the crafting of firearm safety legislation in Lansing?” The answer to both questions is “Yes!”
As most members know, the policies and positions of MSMS are debated and adopted at our annual House of Delegates (HOD). The MSMS HOD is comprised of representatives from our county medical societies, specialty societies and membership sections. The HOD has been meeting and crafting MSMS policies for 157 years. Firearm safety has been a recurring topic at the HOD with multiple resolutions being adopted by the delegation over the last three decades. As a result, MSMS has extensive and thoughtful policy on the subject.
The resolutions range from supporting a ban on look-alike toy guns (adopted prior to 1990), to supporting evidence-based research on gun related injuries and death (2018), to a resolution reaffirming support for gun safety education at last year’s HOD. Here, you can find a summary list of MSMS firearm safety policies.
The fact that MSMS's member physicians had the foresight to discuss, debate, and develop these policies is a working example of the value this decision-making process serves and how it has positioned MSMS.
In fact, because of the hard work and passion of countless physicians who have served in the HOD over the years, MSMS has an extensive library of policies covering a wide array of issues that have been vetted and adopted. This makes my job and that of our government affairs staff clear. When confronted with an issue or question, we consult our policy manual for guidance.
Moreover, because the HOD meets annually, it has the ability to reaffirm, modify, or adopt new positions as warranted by the changing conditions in society and in our practices.
So, when we were contacted by Michigan's legislative leadership asking for our assistance in crafting firearm safety legislation, we were confidently able to share our positions and answer in the affirmative that we stand ready to work with them in the process.
We cannot know what the issues of tomorrow will be. Current events, public sentiment, elections and other factors combine to bring issues to the forefront of the public’s consciousness. You can help MSMS prepare for the future by participating in the HOD as an elected representative and bringing your views and experience forward. You're able to help illuminate our policies so when the time comes, we can best represent the physicians of Michigan.
This year’s HOD meeting will take place April 22-23 at The Henry, Autograph Collection in Dearborn. If you would like to participate as a delegate please contact your county or specialty society and let them know you are interested. I hope to see you there!
If you are interested in taking action and urge your legislator to support sensible gun safety legislation, please do so.
Tom George, MD
MSMS Interim CEO