Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNAO speaks out against gun violence and calls for stricter gun control laws

Gun violence has devastating consequences for citizens of the United States. In 2020, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The unfathomable pattern of mass shootings done with military-style assault weapons readily available for purchase is one of the worst expressions of this tragedy. 

Gun lobbies and gun-friendly politicians have successfully defeated efforts in the U.S. to introduce meaningful laws and regulations that would stop the killing of innocent civilians, while offering their love and prayers each time a new and predictable mass shooting happens. 

RNAO was once again devastated to learn of two recent mass shootings in the U.S.

The atrocious attack on Black people shopping for groceries in Buffalo, New York on May 14, 2022, resulting in 10 deaths, shows the destructive result of mixing hate and racism with easy access to weapons. Black people everywhere in North America must confront the fear that someone full of hatred and loaded with guns will target them simply because of the colour of their skin. 

And, no words can describe the killing of 21 people, 19 of them children, who died in the Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting. How is it possible in a civilized country that an 18-year-old can go to a store and buy two military weapons as if he was buying two bags of milk? 

But gun violence is not just a problem for Americans. Canada also has a serious gun problem to tackle, although not at the same scale as south of our border. Indeed, part of Canada’s problem are the illegal guns crossing the border – so we have a stake in developments in the U.S. 

RNAO welcomes the federal government’s introduction of new legislation to enact a national freeze on importing, buying, selling or transferring handguns, announced on May 30. Furthermore, RNAO urges the government to move immediately and not wait until the fall. Canadians have waited far too long for gun control legislation that will keep them safe.

For RNAO, gun violence is a health concern and easy access to guns is a social determinant of health. RNAO has long been outspoken on the need for stricter gun control laws (see herehere and here). As RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun tweeted on May 25: “Gun violence necessitates gun control, period. Saving lives is doable. It is a choice to do so!”

Last Updated: