Gun Laws & Legislation

The American Medical Association Vs. American Gun Owners


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The AMA just announced that it will make an “unprecedented” push for more gun control laws through resolutions presented at its House of Delegates at its next annual meeting June 9-13. This is not really unprecedented, as the AMA has been advocating anti-gun measures for three decades now, along with many co-conspirator specialty associations. But it is a way for it to jump on the current popular bandwagon for restricting guns since some of the teenagers from the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Valentine’s Day shootings have become media celebrities.

Jumping aboard progressive bandwagons is the main tactic left to the AMA to wield influence, since it now includes no more than 25% of America’s physicians as members, even though it claims to represent us all. Its leadership has left most physicians behind by focusing on politics more than medicine and undercutting physician autonomy by supporting Obamacare. In this case, they continue denigrating the vast number of Second Amendment respecting health care providers by continuing to back gun control—as if anything short of full civilian disarmament would substantially reduce “gun violence”, let alone affect violent crime. (Regarding eliminating scary “assault rifles” see the latest school shooting at Santa Fe using a pump-action shotgun and a .38 caliber revolver; regarding the consequences of handgun prohibition, see the United Kingdom—or anywhere.)

The AMA has a very long history of attacking guns and gun ownership as too dangerous for commoners. Rarely, members with other views get a hearing (which is then ignored); more typically, even that doesn’t happen, as its governance seeks to justify positions, not develop them.

It quotes manipulated data, like all anti-gun rights groups, basing this outcry on an inflated list of 2018 school shootings making the rounds, even though only a fraction of those events qualifies as attempts at mass shootings on students during school. (PolitiFact occasionally gets it right.)

From the Forbes article:

“This year, here are just some of the measures doctors want the AMA to back:

  • Ban the sale of bump stocks. AMA delegates will consider supporting “a ban on the sale of any device, including bump stocks, that converts a firearm into a weapon that mimics a fully automatic weapon.”
  • Strengthen the background check system for firearms. AMA delegates will consider supporting legislation that requires “all gun sales and transfers” to “fall under strengthened regulation.”
  • Ban on semi-automatic assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. AMA delegates will consider supporting “a ban on the sale, transfer, manufacturer and importation of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines to the public.”
  • Increasing the legal age of purchasing ammunition and firearms from 18 to 21. AMA delegates will consider supporting “increasing the legal age to purchase firearms and ammunition.” ”

Some corrections are in order here.

First of all, “here are just some of the measures the AMA wants doctors to back.

Then, regarding the claim by AMA President David A. Barbe, MD, that “Gun violence in America today is a public health crisis”,  DRGO has repeatedly put paid to that untruth (e.g., here). Is it “one that requires a comprehensive and far-reaching solution” such as:

  • Ban the sale of bump stocks. This may be a device implicated in the fewest shootings of all, only in Las Vegas last October, which wasn’t even necessary to inflict all the casualties the gunman caused.
  • Strengthen the background check system for firearms. They mean, of course, universal registration of all firearm transfers, as of the effective date of universal background checks. That is not consistent with individual freedom in our country.
  • Ban on semi-automatic assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. This suggests the next step would be to ban all semi-automatic weapons, since there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the function of the Ruger Mini-14, the Browning [semi-]Automatic Rifle and any AR-model semi-automatic weapon. All pistols, gas-operated shotguns and even most .22 caliber plinkers would be gone. But this is “a good start”, to quote any anti-gun activist, including outlawing what have always been standard magazine capacities up of to 30 rounds.
  • Increasing the legal age of purchasing ammunition and firearms from 18 to 21. This is self-evidently discriminatory, as we rely on 18 to 20 year olds’ judgment in most states about drinking and consider them able to decide to join the military and die in war zones without question. Wonder how most would vote on this question of their older betters intent to deprive them of a constitutional right?

Legislating morality has always been impossible in a diverse polity like the United States. They’ll have no more luck with this than the abortion, capital punishment or immigration battles have had in uniting American opinion about them.

To quote William F. Buckley, Jr.’s National Review mission statement, DRGO “stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” There’s progress (like ensuring a well-educated, ethical populace enjoying all the rights of individual liberty) and then there are progressives (the opposite). DRGO stands for progress.

Let’s not let them get away with it!

DRGO Editor Robert B. Young, MD is a psychiatrist practicing in Pittsford, NY, an associate clinical professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.Click here to visit Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. Click here to follow DRGO on Facebook.