Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Doctors Falsely Claim Guns Are Public Health Crisis

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Doctors Falsely Claim Guns Are Public Health Crisis

Editorials and public appeals from the medical community are the latest tools in an attempt to parlay a national tragedy into a political agenda.

“Gun Carnage Is a Public Health Crisis,” declares an Oct. 13 editorial from The New York Times, accusing lawmakers of using mental health or the legality of slide fire stocks as diversionary tactics and asserting, “The problem is the weapon, not the latest accessory.” The Times also repeats accusations of the government stifling research, and the NRA “lethally marketing” the “military style” firearms to civilians. Fortune magazine similarly claimed guns were a public health crisis, citing the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas as proof.

Of course, the so-called “mainstream” media is only too happy to reframe the issue as a “public health crisis,” as the door would then be opened for physicians to cure it. And behind that door, more than a few doctors are waiting.

Writing last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researcher and California-based ER physician Garen Wintemute used the Las Vegas shooting to urge doctors to sign a pledge that they would ask patients about firearm ownership and safety when risk factors are present.

Wintemute has made headlines with his research for decades, securing state and national fundingand even privately funding his conclusions, which often favor additional gun restriction. This year’s appeal received coverage from The Los Angeles Times and other sources, despite making much the same pitch as last year.

On its face, the petition is relatively innocuous; after all, preventative care for mental illness is certainly within the scope of physicians. Psychological maladies are complex, nuanced and difficult to manage. But despite calling for increased background checks and medical screening, as well as bans on normal-capacity magazines, Dr. Wintemute admits the Vegas shooter did not fit the usual profile and nothing could have predicted his behavior. He also neglects to explain how an outpatient exam room chat would have stopped an eccentric millionaire who passed background checks and had no known mental impairments.

Wintemute’s appeal was accompanied by a harsher call to action from the journal’s editorial board, likening mass shootings to an infectious disease and arguing that if any other object had been used to commit a mass atrocity, the rancor from the medical and political class would be deafening, and solutions would be frantically demanded and pursued. (Unsurprisingly, the American College of Physicians, which publishes the journal, routinely advocates for left-of-center causes and even gun bans.)

Of course, the script read much the same before the Las Vegas shooting: Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) featured multiple calls for action and activism on firearms at its yearly conference. In a keynote address, President Fernando Stein reasserted the AAP’s position that gun violence is an “epidemic” and that “easy access” among gun owners is to blame. Stein urged doctors to promote “sensible, evidence-based laws,” suggesting that ending gun violence would save $174 billion dollars, which could be used to fund healthcare. Other presentations included an Arkansas doctor calling for “a shared and sustained voice” to increase gun regulation in the face of an “American crisis,” as well as research co-produced by the Brady Campaign.

The convention was, ironically, held in Chicago on a weekend in which 10 were killed and 29 more were wounded, pushing the city's homicide count for the year above the 500 mark.

Of course, even one homicide, suicide or accident is too many, but the data simply doesn’t support exaggerated claims of a public health “crisis.” Research listed on the AAP’s own website admits that youth homicide from firearms and accidental deaths are at record lows, and most cities are on track to log record lows in crime. (Slight bumps in the last two years are due largely to anti-gun cities like Chicago.)

The same can’t be said for preventable patient mortality. Recent reports indicate medical error is the third-highest cause of death in the United States, estimating more than 250,000 deaths per year at the hands of medical practitioners. Another 21 percent of patients report having survived a medical error. Other research warns of increasing opioid overdoses and abuse, noting an overwhelming increase in prescription narcotics abuse among children. Increasingly, physicians are even being criminally prosecuted for fatal overdoses.

We understand that many NRA members are in the medical profession, that the majority of prescribers are responsible and well-intentioned, and that management of chronic pain or mental illness shouldn’t be oversimplified. However, the figures clearly show that far more Americans meet their deaths at the hands of medical providers than at the hands of criminals with firearms. These prescribers no doubt mean well, and accidents do happen. But shouldn’t the same benefit of the doubt be afforded to responsible gun owners? And shouldn’t additional attention be focused on a true crisis rather than a contrived one?

Persons with predispositions towards violence, self-harm or mental illness should be and often are screened by medical professionals in compliance with the law.

We respect the nature of the relationship between a patient and provider. However, these professionals must be cautious not to abuse their position of trust with invasive and intrusive questioning, particularly to fit a political agenda.

 

BY David Burnett

RN based in Lexington, KY

David Burnett is a critical care registered nurse based in Lexington, KY and the former president of Students for Concealed Carry. 

TRENDING NOW
Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

News  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

House Democrats Outline Gun Control Agenda for 116th Congress

News  

Friday, November 16, 2018

House Democrats Outline Gun Control Agenda for 116th Congress

With anti-gun Democrats back in control of the House of Representatives come January, now is the time to prepare for a new onslaught on the Second Amendment. Emboldened by the mere thought of controlling the ...

Toledo Mayor Plays Politics With Officer Safety Via New Firearm Procurement Measures

News  

Friday, November 16, 2018

Toledo Mayor Plays Politics With Officer Safety Via New Firearm Procurement Measures

Bad ideas have a way of recurring within gun control circles. And when they do, they are usually accompanied by self-congratulatory rhetoric about their supposedly “innovative” and “forward-thinking” nature. That was certainly the case this ...

Yes, George Soros is a Gun Grabber

News  

Friday, November 16, 2018

Yes, George Soros is a Gun Grabber

In 2015, billionaire gun control financier and potential 2020 presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg financed the creation of the anti-gun propaganda outlet The Trace. Ever grateful for their wealthy benefactor’s unfettered largesse, the Bloomberg advocacy group now views less-profligate anti-gun tycoons as ...

Indulgences for Hollywood as Movie Studio Buys Gun Offsets

News  

Friday, November 16, 2018

Indulgences for Hollywood as Movie Studio Buys Gun Offsets

In 2014, Hollywood movie mogul and fierce NRA critic Harvey Weinstein appeared to acknowledge the movie industry might be able to have a positive impact by reducing its glorification of criminal violence. Weinstein explained, I have to ...

NRA Challenges Constitutional Violations in Initiative 1639

News  

Thursday, November 15, 2018

NRA Challenges Constitutional Violations in Initiative 1639

The NRA was joined by the Second Amendment Foundation in filing a lawsuit challenging gun control measures recently passed in Washington ballot initiative I-1639.

Surprise: Physician Group Rehashes Same Tired Gun Control Policies

News  

Friday, November 2, 2018

Surprise: Physician Group Rehashes Same Tired Gun Control Policies

Everyone has hobbies. Some doctors’ collective hobby is opining on firearms policy. Half of the articles in the “Latest from Annals” email from the Annals of Internal Medicine journal are related to firearms. The most prominent of these ...

California: Cities Backpedal on Over-Reaching & Preempted Local Anti-Gun Ordinances

Friday, November 16, 2018

California: Cities Backpedal on Over-Reaching & Preempted Local Anti-Gun Ordinances

The City of Palm Springs decided to repeal the reporting ordinance to avoid litigation and the City of Saratoga also withdrew an ordinance that would have imposed the same type of reporting limitation on victims of firearm ...

Missing the Marx: Gun Control’s Future is … Communism?

News  

Friday, November 2, 2018

Missing the Marx: Gun Control’s Future is … Communism?

After every high profile crime committed with a firearm of any sort, there are always calls for gun control. But one particular proposal this week managed to distinguish itself amid the usual din, if only ...

Ohio: House Passes Self-Defense Legislation, Contact Your Senator

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Ohio: House Passes Self-Defense Legislation, Contact Your Senator

Today, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 228 by a 64 to 26 vote.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.