From Texas Public Radio:
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio surgeon Donald Jenkins supports gun rights. The San Antonio surgeon is among the gun-owning doctors who has signed on to a new set of gun-safety recommendations.
“I am a life member of the NRA. I am a firearm owner. I spent 24 years in the military,” he says.
But Jenkins says he thinks something needs to be done about gun violence in the U.S.
“We see the end product of that violence on a daily basis, and it is our mission to prevent injuries from happening to people who then become our patients,” Jenkins says.
So, he and 21 members of the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma — 18 of whom are gun owners — issued recommendations to help curb gun violence. One recommendation is that the federal government classify mass shootings as a federal crime.
“This is terrorism because it exists to terrorize people when these mass shootings occur, period.” Jenkins says.
If potential mass shooters are thought of as potential terrorists, Jenkins says you could bring all of the resources of the federal government to help prevent the shootings.
“In almost every one of these instances, after the fact, people come forward and say, ‘Oh, we knew it was only a matter of time. He’s been posting things on these social media platforms that caused us to believe he was going to harm someone,’ ” Jenkins says.
Jenkins says gun violence, including homicide, suicide and accidental shootings, should be treated as a public health issue, and doctors should be included in trying to find solutions.
“We have long been advocates for injury prevention — bicycle safety, automobile safety, trying to keep people from driving under the influence of intoxicating agents — and this is just one more aspect as we see it,” Jenkins says.
He says doctors shouldn’t be alone in this effort, however; they should be joined by mental health professionals, the National Rifle Association and even gun manufacturers.
“If you’re going to work on preventing firearm injury, violence and death, you’re going to work with the people who are experts in that industry, and we have to bring them together if we’re going to make any inroads in this, whatsoever,” Jenkins says.
While Jenkins says it’s important to preserve gun rights, he also says something needs to change because American families pay too high a price when it comes to gun violence.
“The right to life is just as important as the right to own a firearm, and we have to treat it as such,” he says.