Elites Double Down on Medical Gun Control Politics

Prescription No Guns
Prescription No Guns
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- To see how utterly disconnected the public health gun prohibition movement and their major media allies are from the everyday lives of normal people, consider the recent carefully orchestrated media blast of Dr. Garen Wintemute’s latest gun control advocacy article.

My expert colleagues Dr. Margulies and Dr. Young dissected this smelly specimen of junk science last week.

But there’s another message in Wintemute’s article.  Medical gun control activists are perceiving pushback from the sick and injured people who come to them for help but instead find themselves pressured to give up their civil right to own a firearm. 

So they are doing what the elites always do when challenged. Instead of backing off and respecting the will of the people, they are flogging their anti-gun campaign even harder. After all, they know what’s best for us. Or so they are convinced.

This publicity stunt followed the standard anti-gun medical journal playbook—a breathtaking, headlining political communique in the guise of a research paper, published in an otherwise respectable medical journal, accompanied for good measure by an attaboy editorial summarizing the talking points, and finally, a nonstop flurry of accommodating press releases masquerading as news coverage by the New York Times, Time, Huffington Post, etc., etc., etc.

You would think this year’s crazy presidential primary campaign would be perceived by clueless plutocrats as the wakeup call it is.  A vast teeming pool of discontent rules the political process right now. At least some of it is prompted by the elites’ dogged attempts to turn good Americans who own guns into criminals.

The medical establishment has followed that course, trying harder than ever to convince doctors to misuse their patients’ trust to push gun control politics in their exam rooms.

Over the years Garen Wintemute has perfected the art of concealing his disturbingly negative disposition toward gun owners in the bland jargon of science.  For example, in the current article he and his coauthors urge doctors to pose the gun question to patients they believe to be at risk for harming themselves or others.  This is a reasonable and even necessary part of a doctor’s work, and it is not outlawed by such laws as Florida’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, despite media statements to the contrary.

But in the next breath Wintemute et al. target for questioning certain demographic groups profiled by race, by sex, and by age.  Specifically, older white men should be questioned about their guns, the authors insist, because they are at greater risk for firearm suicide.  And young black men should get the treatment because they are at greater risk for homicide from firearms.

Not mentioned by Wintemute, his coauthors, or any of the fawning media articles promoting their work are the valid reasons for gun ownership in both categories, including the most important one, self-defense.  Not mentioned either is the well-established health benefit of decreased risk of injury and death enjoyed by armed violent crime victims as opposed to unarmed victims.

This selective omission of any discussion of benefits of gun ownership is one of the familiar characteristics of anti-gun junk science.

Washington Post writer Ben Guarino, who makes no pretense to fair coverage of this contentious subject, solicited emailed comments from Wintemute for his May 17 article.  He gathered commentary from medical organizations with active policies against gun owners—the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics—whose spokespersons dependably obliged with endorsements of Wintemute’s recommendations to probe patients about their guns.

But even though the Washington Post’s staff is well aware of DRGO, and I have even appeared as a guest in a Washington Post online interview, Guarino did not seek balancing commentary from our organization.  A simple Google search of “doctors asking about gun ownership” turns up multiple references to DRGO and our work on the subject.

Clearly Guarino is one of the many media writers who view themselves as enlightened advocates rather than reporters of the facts.

It speaks volumes that Wintemute and his many anti-gun allies believe it necessary to reassure practicing doctors that “Yes, You Can” probe your patients about their guns. But doctors are having none of it, and neither are their patients.

Timothy Wheeler
Timothy Wheeler

DRGO’s online resource “What to Do When Your Doctor Asks About Guns” is a resource for anyone planning a visit to a doctor (see the PDF handout linked in this longer document).  For scholars and others desiring greater analysis, see the amicus curiae brief submitted to the 11th circuit appeals court by our parent organization, the Second Amendment Foundation.

Remember that most doctors are just as uncomfortable with asking about your guns as you are with being asked.  They understand that routinely probing you with questions about guns in your home is none of their business, and they respect your privacy.  They have no desire to be pressed into service as gun control foot soldiers for a handful of public health gun control zealots in white coats.

—Timothy Wheeler, MD is director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation. www.drgo.us