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    Points to make when discussing 'gun control' with others

    Why we should OPPOSE most of the 'common-sense' gun laws being proposedin the midst of recent mass-shootings....

    First of all, we can't have an 'open and honest discussion', nor a'reasonable compromise', when the side pushing for new gun laws is so dishonest. According to liberal, non-gun-owning criminologist Don Kates, and several physician coauthors writing in a law review journal article, titled "Guns and Public Health -epidemic of violence, or pandemic of propaganda...?," 61Tenn. L. Rev. 513-596 (1994), (available archived online at, the

    "CDC and other health advocate sages build their case not only by suppressing facts, but by overt fraud, fabricating statistics, and falsifying references to support them.[261] The following are but a few of the many examples documented in a recent paper co-authored by professors at Columbia Medical School and Rutgers University Law School."

    They go on for 83 pages of thoroughly referenced material to prove their point namely that the medical literature cannot be trusted to bring firearms under the umbrella of a 'public health' issue. This is why the CDC had their 'gun violence research' funds taken away.

    If there is an epidemic that is killing people, and a mob of desperate citizens and politicians demands that we must do something,and wants me to prescribe patients an antibiotic that I know is ineffective against that organism, and in fact has dangerous side effects that cause far more harm than good, it is my duty as a physician to stand firm and oppose use of that antibiotic. Then,even if like this past week, more individuals die of the same epidemic, there is NO virtue in 'compromising'....the wrong answer is STILL the wrong answer, and will still harm more than help,even if it satisfies some primal emotional urge to "do something". At this point, to 'compromise' and accept useless but symbolic gun legislation is to place a higher value on one's self-image than on the lives of the potential victims of gun violence virtue-signaling at its worst.

    It is difficult to respect the physicians who admit on the one hand that they know little about firearms technology, ballistics, or the historic impact of firearms regulation on either a national or international basis, yet stoop to the same grandstanding and virtue-signaling the politicians resort to whenever lives are lost.

    When lives are at stake, you don't compromise, even if the area in question is something icky and scary and politically unpopular as'guns'. To do so is to be no different than the witch-burners at Salem.

    IFthe gun-regulation advocates were willing to allow ordinary citizens to do background checks by accessing NICS, and IF they were willing to allow background checks WITHOUT creating a federal gun registry,it might reassure me that at least their intentions were good - in other words that they actually cared more about doing something constructive, than simply attacking gun ownership. Of course the data we have shows that 'background checks' are pretty much useless,if for no other reason than the obvious one that criminally-intent people simply evade the law anyway. At least one could argue that a background check law without creation of a gun registry would at least only be useless, but perhaps not very harmful(other than wasting scarce police resources); but the fanatics pushing for new laws refuse to do background checks without creating a registry.

    Unfortunately, a gun registry is the ulterior motive of those who push for'background checks', knowing the latter sounds helpful and harmless,and the former seems 'reasonable' to those who haven't paid attention to history. Sadly, gun registries are commonly misused both internationally and domestically to confiscate the very firearms the politicians pretend now they won't ever confiscate (although many have recently admitted that in fact they want to confiscate them all). Whether the government has a legitimate right to confiscate firearms from citizens (other than known violent criminals) should not be a matter of 'debate', as it is crystal-clear that one of the unique features of the U.S. government is our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which sets strict limits on what civil rights the government may infringe upon. The authors of the Bill of Rights knew full-well that 'rights' can be messy, yet when the government usurps those basic rights to expression, property ownership, privacy, and defense,the consequences are far worse. At a minimum, if the majority wishes to inflict on the rest of society a restriction of their basic rights, they need to do so by Constitutional amendment, rather than simply ignoring the law and using propaganda, fear, and force to get their way; such is the approach of dictators and tyrants the very ones the Bill of Rights was written to impede.

    Keep in mind that genocide dwarfs the combined totals of gun murders, gun accidents, gun suicides, mass-shooters, terrorists, andwars, so leaving that out of the equation of 'gun violence' is very disingenuous. The 20th century saw an average of over 4,000 lives per day lost to genocide (see R.J. Rummell at if you doubt those numbers), and the single most significant barrier to genocide is a well and anonymously (no 'gun registry') armed citizenry,armed with militarily significant ('military-style semiauto')firearms, which our Constitution's authors clearly recognized (see Stephen Halbrook's many works on the topic if you doubt that history). Technology changes, and we now debate 'speech' on the internet instead of parchment, and our shouldered firearms are more advanced, but the fundamental concepts are no different. Our Second Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, was written to protect the timeless balance of power between citizen and government,even if that concept is something complex and seemingly remote thatour younger generations are 'triggered' to hear about. Perhaps if they had been born in nations without such protections, and witnessed the state-sanctioned murders so prominent in the Middle East and South America these days, they might have a broader perspective.

    As far as 'red flag' laws, yes, they make sense at a gut-level, if one conveniently forgets the fact that criminals don't obey laws, so if their purchases are blocked, they simply turn to the black-market,or steal, and if they are openly known as dangerous, they will likewise resort to the same black market they use to get their cocaine, meth, and whatever else they need. Only in some fantasy-land would violent, often-suicidal, psychopathic criminals decide not to go on a murder spree because of fear of breaking some bureaucratic 'gun law'.

    The other problem is that in a day and age where 'hate crimes' are so often found to be hoaxes perpetrated by the 'victim', and where 'doxing' and 'swatting' individuals with whom one disagrees are commonplace and considered acceptable, particularly by the political left allowing 'anonymous tips' to cause a person to have their home raided at night by armed troops is a very dangerous thing to encourage as a political tool.

    Add to this that recently the Obama administration decided it was 'ok' to use the IRS to attack libertarians, conservatives, and the few journalists who expressed opposition to Obama's policies, and the fact that our current federal government doesn't generally appear to have any sense of the limits it is supposed to stay within (from either side of the aisle), and we are setting the stage for politically violent assaults to be directed at those with political views not aligned with those in office. Again these are the tools of tyrants and dictators, not legitimate leaders.

    Yes,we COULD sanitize 'red flag' laws by making them require due-process,with penalties for abuse, and we COULD go to the effort of being sure a federal gun registry is prohibited when doing background checks.....but even if we do that, we will have wasted time passing symbolic, useless, laws that will NOT reduce violent crime. All they will do is give politicians something to grandstand about as if they've actually done something useful, and a handful of hoplophobic physicians will get sidebars in medical journals hailing them as 'crusaders against gun violence' whenever they do a feature on 'gun violence as a public health issue'.

    So far from what I've seen, I'd sooner turn to the pages of Guns&Ammo for objective expertise on dealing with statin myopathy when treating dyslipidemia, than to the pages of JAMA or NEJM when it comes to 'gun violence'. Read "Guns and Public Health - epidemic ofviolence, or pandemic of propaganda?," 61 Tenn. L. Rev.513-596 (1994), available archived online at if you want to understand why so many physicians lack understanding of the issue yet have strong opinions that make no sense if one understands the issue. Look at section XIII, titled "A Critique of Overt Mendacity"and you will be very enlightened.

    Finally,are we really having a 'crisis' in terms of 'mass-shootings'...? Certainly the victims who are injured or dead would say so. However,when you actually look at the data, it becomes apparent that the U.S. does NOT 'lead the world in mass-shootings' we are far from the worst, and just like 'gun crime', the amount of innocent death resulting from firearms misuse has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the laws regulating firearms. The U.S. isn't even in the top ten nations in terms of per-capita deaths from mass-shootings. Yes any murder is bad, but when one side consistently resorts to lying to make their case, we need to be skeptical and start fact-checking.

    In a world of six billion people, with a life expectancy of 75 years or so on average worldwide, around 220 thousand of us die every day, so we need to look at REAL numbers, and REAL trends, if we are to arrive at any useful place. According to the FBI, far more people in the U.S. are murdered using clubs and hammers than 'assault rifles',the latter amounting to a couple hundred per year typically. Given that the rest of the world has around 4,000 to 5,000 people killed per day by genocide, or around 1,600,000 annually, is an annual death toll of a few hundred from 'mass shootings' where we should focus...? Well of course if you ignore the rest of the world and only use U.S.figures, where genocide has been virtually nonexistent (other than for Native Americans in the 19th Century), perhaps you have the luxury of feeling that 'mass-shootings' are a crisis requiring extraordinary public policy changes, and ignoring or voiding the Constitution. However you might want to keep in mind that perhaps the reason you can conveniently ignore genocide in the U.S. is that the U.S. population is uniquely armed in accordance with the wishes of the authors of our Constitution, who had seen first-hand what happens when the government is far better armed than the citizens it is supposed to serve, and it turns to oppressing them instead. Pretending such things never happen when the worldwide experience consistently reflects the reality that it is still as valid a concern as it was 250 years ago during the foundation of our nation is incredibly naive, and is a dangerous background for deciding public policy.

    When the proponents of 'tougher gun laws' use emotion to drive public policy, and try to guide it by distortion or even outright fabrication of 'data', should that alone not be enough reason NOT to go along with their recommendations...???

    Andrew Johnstone, RPh/MD
    Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws
    Last edited by AJMD429; 08-12-2019 at 10:27.

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