Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Since February, the NRA has been cautioning gun owners of the threats to their rights posed by Dr. Vivek Murthy, Barack Obama’s anti-gun nominee for U.S. Surgeon General. As news spread last week that a vote on Dr. Murthy’s nomination was imminent, NRA renewed its opposition in a letter to Congress detailing the young physician’s record of gun control activism and his insistence on the “public health” dimensions of the issue.
Opposition from the NRA and gun owners had initially helped stall a confirmation vote on Dr. Murthy. Nevertheless, partisan politics trumped all on Monday when outgoing senators no longer accountable to the electorate after their defeat in the midterm elections mustered 51 votes for confirmation. Sen. Harry Reid, as Majority Leader of the Senate, had spearheaded a rule change last fall that eliminated the filibuster on most executive and judicial appointments and allowed for their approval on a simple majority vote.
Murthy himself, during a nomination hearing in February, insisted to a Senate panel (at 50:54 of the linked video): “I do not intend to use the surgeon general's office as a bully pulpit for gun control.”
Yet the joy expressed by various gun control groups at his confirmation suggests that they, at least, are not willing to take him at his word. Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety gushed that Murthy’s conformation was “an important step forward in addressing gun violence in our country as a public health problem.”
Dr. Murthy’s denials should not be taken at face value. America’s public health apparatus has long been seen by gun control advocates as a key element to legitimizing their agenda. Public funding of gun control propaganda, in the form of junk science studies emanating from the Centers for Disease Control and its affiliated entities, is merely one piece of the puzzle. Another is influential, high-profile spokespersons for the point of view that the private possession of firearms should be treated as a disease that demands coordinated action by the medical community to eradicate.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the current issue of JAMA Pediatrics includes “A Call for Pediatric Advocacy” against what the authors decry as “permissive gun laws” that condemn children to “live in neighborhoods saturated with dangerous, available guns.” In the authors’ view, pediatricians browbeating their patients’ parents over “guns owned … in the home” is not sufficient. They argue that doctors who treat children should also become advocates for stronger gun control laws, including the rationing of firearm purchases, “universal” background checks, penalizing crime victims who don’t report the theft of their guns, and punishing the unapproved storage of guns.
People want to believe they can trust the “experts,” especially in matters concerning their own health and the health of their families. This makes Dr. Murthy’s use of his medical degree to push his political views all the more concerning. His prior gun control advocacy was not just expressed in terms of his personal opinion but exploited his status as a doctor to suggest he arrived at his views based purely on scientific evidence.
Only time will tell if Dr. Murthy was honest and sincere in his statements at his nomination hearing. In the meantime, the confirmation of yet another Obama anti-gun nominee is a bitter pill for liberty-loving Americans and a reminder of the importance of what was accomplished in the midterm elections with the power shift within the Senate.