AMA uses Study to Push Gun Control, Note Media Role in Mass Shootings

Doctors and Guns
Doctors and Guns

U.S.A. -( The AMA published a study of the effects of “Mass Shootings” on gun sales. The authors found gun sales were about as likely to decrease as to increase after the events.

Instead of the traditional FBI definition of a mass murder as killing four or more people in a single incident, not including themselves, the study published by the AMA uses the more wide ranging “Mass Shooting”, which they define as an incident in which 5 or more people are injured or killed. Not surprisingly, this increased the number of incidents substantially. The researchers found 124 incidents from November 1998 to April, 2016.  That is the period the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) has been in effect.

Here are the results, as published. From

Main Outcomes and Measures Identification of major mass shootings significantly associated with changes in gun purchases, and the identification of event-specific factors associated with changes in gun purchases.

Results Between November 1998 and April 2016, 124 major mass shootings and 233 996 385 total background checks occurred. A total of 26 shootings (21.0%) were associated with increases in gun purchases and 22 shootings (17.7%) were associated with decreases in gun purchasing. Shootings receiving extensive media coverage were associated with handgun purchase increases (odds ratio, 5.28; 95% CI, 1.30-21.41; P = .02). Higher-fatality shootings had an inverse association with handgun purchase decreases (odds ratio, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.53-1.00; P = .049).

In other words, after 21% of the incidents, gun sales increased. After 18% of the incidents, gun sales decreased. There was no change for 61% of the incidents.

It is important to report the negative results of scientific studies. This is one of those cases.

When there is a “mass shooting” as defined by the study, sometimes gun sales increase. Sometimes they decrease. Most of the time, they stay the same.  It is hard to conceive of a less surprising outcome. Studies often confirm the obvious.

Some credit must be given to the author of the article about the study. She includes the information that “mass shootings” are likely increased by the excessive media coverage of “mass shootings”. From the AMA article about the study:

In an April 18 letter to CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, noted research suggesting “that a mass-shooting incident increases the probability of another mass shooting in the immediate future.” He added that “analysis of media coverage of mass shootings followed by imitation or copycat incidents of mass shootings indicate a possible media contagion effect.”

Dr. Madara wrote that “the AMA agrees that the way the media reports on an event can play a role in increasing the probability of imitation.”

None the less, the author worked hard to act as if this study was evidence to promote more restrictions on gun ownership. The article mentions AMA support to require government permission to purchase a firearm (background checks) and links to a large number of infringements pushed by the AMA. The items could have come directly from the major anti-Second Amendment groups.  They include:

  • Red Flag Laws
  • Adding people convicted of “stalking” to the list of prohibited possessors
  • Adding dating partners to the list of prohibited possessors by restraining orders
  • Requiring States to establish processes to actively confiscate guns
  • Advocate to keep schools “gun free zones”
  • Oppose allowing teachers to have the ability to protect children under their care
  • Support banning the possession of firearms by adults between the ages of 18 and 21
  • Support banning the sales of firearms and ammunition to adults between the ages of 18 and 21
  • Oppose concealed carry reciprocity to allow adults with the legal right to carry concealed weapons in their home state to carry in other states.

The AMA qualifies as an anti-Second Amendment group in its own right.

This study did not give them any leverage to promote more infringements on the Second Amendment.

The AMA works hard to convince people that crime and suicide are “public health” issues. By this reasoning, everything is a public health issue, because everything affects health in one way or another.  Taxes? Public health issue. Environmental concerns? Public health issue. Crime? Public health issue. Gun ownership? Public health issue. It is hard to think of something that isn’t a “public health” issue in this formulation.

Doctors are not experts on crime, economics, pollution, or guns. Declaring everything a “public health” issue is a way to leverage the public respect for doctors to push policy objectives that have nothing to do with medicine.

Progressive politics place “public health” above Constitutional rights. It is simply another way to say “general welfare” or “the greater good”.  Progressive ideology declares experts should decide what policies promote “public health” or “general welfare” or “the greater good”.  But there are always experts on every side of an issue.  Progressive ideologues just pick the experts they agree with.

Progressive ideology detests the idea of limits on government. Thus, Second Amendment rights are attacked by Progressive medical organizations such as the AMA.

What you will not find in AMA publications, is information about positive uses of guns. Self defense with guns, defense against animals, contributions to the common defense, undercut the narrative that guns only have negative consequences. It is as if doctors were evaluating a medicine, but never considered the cures the medicine produced, only its side effects. That is bad practice.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.