New England Journal of Medicine (courtesy theconferenceforum.org)

“Gun violence in the United States is a complicated problem,” a triage of doctors write at The New England Journal of Medicine. “In fact, it is four complicated problems: mass shootings, suicides that account for two thirds of gun deaths in the United States, homicides and gun-related injuries like those tearing apart the city of Chicago, and accidental shootings that occur when, for instance, toddlers find a parent’s gun and kill themselves, a sibling, or a parent. Any group — on any part of the political spectrum — promising an easy solution and speaking in absolutes does not grasp the reality.”

So guess what the NEJM editorialists proceed to do? You got it! Speak in absolutes. Like this:

The devastation wrought by firearms is not inevitable, and to consider this scale of death the price of freedom is a perversion of the notion of liberty. Although these four types of gun violence have varied root causes and solutions, easy access to guns is a unifying thread. Indeed, however virulent Omar Mateen’s possibly mixed motivations may have been, they would not have resulted in the deaths of 49 people and the injuring of 53 more if he hadn’t been able to obtain an assault-style rifle.

Absolute nonsense. For one thing, Omar Mateen could have used any number of methods to kill and injure dozens of innocents, just as Julio González used a plastic gas can and a match to kill 87 people at a Manhattan nightclub club in 1990.

For another, how about this: “The devastation wrought by medical malpractice is not inevitable, and to consider this scale of death (between 210,000 and 440,000 patients per year) the price of an AMA-controlled system is a perversion of the notion of modern medicine.”

At a minimum that ought to be uncontroversial, universal background checks should be instituted for every gun sale in every setting in this country. The implementation of such a process isn’t simple, and many questions are worthy of nuanced debate: What crimes should preclude gun ownership? How do we protect patient privacy and still report mental health histories that suggest a high risk of violence? But the complexity of these issues cannot be an excuse for inaction.

So just because something is unworkable doesn’t mean we shouldn’t implement it (cough Obamacare cough). Got it.

We also believe that the types of weapons used in Orlando, Newtown, San Bernardino, and Aurora have no practical applications for untrained civilians. Although the Second Amendment proclaims that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, where we draw the line on individual access to arms that were unimaginable in the 18th century is up to us as a society to debate. The rising death toll demands that we accept this responsibility and commit ourselves to engaging in this conversation.

A first common-sense step would be a renewed ban on “assault weapons” — defined in terms of design features that permit shooters to fire 45 to 60 rounds per minute, inflicting massive trauma, with accuracy across distances of hundreds of yards. Without that capacity, even an unhinged, hate-filled terrorist would destroy far fewer lives. On June 20, the U.S. Supreme Court signaled its acceptance of such a limit by allowing assault-weapons bans in Connecticut and New York to stand.

The doctors writing this screed — who use footnotes to give their anti-gun agitprop gravitas — believe that modern sporting rifles have “no practical applications.” I believe that doctors who’ve never hunted with an AR-style rifle, or considered the self-defense or marksmanship benefits of AR-style rifles, have no business calling for a ban on AR-style rifles.

And where, pray tell is the footnote for the term “rising death toll”? As we pointed out four days ago, America has the lowest homicide rate since 1963 — despite the addition of millions of AR-style rifles in the last five years alone. As for the Supreme Court non-ruling on the CT and NY’s “assault weapon” ban, Dredd Scott.

We believe physicians need to engage in a sustained effort to counter groups that are intent on maintaining the status quo, joining with the millions of mothers, fathers, nurses, educators, writers, researchers, LGBT community members, and their allies of every race and religion who will push forward even in this most polarizing of discussions to find common ground and sensible solutions, to honor those who have died and to protect those who might otherwise be next.

Doctors want doctors to seek common ground on gun control with whom, exactly? Americans who cherish their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms? No, not them, obviously. The New England Journal of Medicine‘s editorialists want docs to join forces with those who would degrade and destroy our firearms freedom in the name of safety for all — ignoring the tens of thousands of lives saved every year by defensive gun uses.

Doctor, heal thyself. Grasp that reality.

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63 Responses to New England Journal of Medicine: Doctor Knows Best! Gun Control for Everyone!

  1. “The devastation wrought by firearms is not inevitable, and to consider this scale of death the price of freedom is a perversion of the notion of liberty.”

    The devastation wrought by 30,000 yearly motor vehicle deaths is not inevitable, and to consider this scale of death the price of transportation freedom is a perversion of the notion of liberty.

    FACT – If the nationwide speed limit was a STRICTLY ENFORCED 25 MPH, deaths would drop over 50 percent.

    Spare me your sanctimonious prattle on senseless deaths…

    • Why stop with the speed limit? Just think of the lives we can save if we outlaw motor vehicles altogether. And, we can’t allow swimming…too many drownings. Diabetes is a killer so sugar and fast foods have to go too. And, alcohol? No way…too many accidents under the influence. And, because too many deaths occur after dark, let’s just put everyone under house arrest from dusk to dawn. That should just about cover the known risks. Have a nice life and thank your liberal doctor’s association when you get the chance.

      • Speaking of doctors, how about the somewhere between 210,000 to 440,000 people that die annually from malpractice and mistakes in hospitals. Common sense would say that’s too high and something should be done.

        • Exactly. I kinda settled with 300K per year, seems a nice round number. So, once again, doctors making mistakes, not ‘it’s too late’ or ‘nothing we can do’ – just doctors making errors kill about 850 people. Every. Day.

          Physician, heal thyself.

    • “FACT – If the nationwide speed limit was a STRICTLY ENFORCED 25 MPH, deaths would drop over 50 percent.” Fact? What is your source? What substantiated evidence can you provide to support such a claim? Especially given the FACT that, according to the Highway Patrol in my state, the number one contributing factor in highway fatalities is INATTENTION. Not speed. Can you say cell phones? But, in any case, tell me. Do you own a high performance sports car? If you don’t, I’m certain you know someone who does. They are all over. Given the death toll on the nation’s highways, what practical use is there for a car that can go 100+ mph.? What practical use is there for a car that can go from 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds? There is none. But we allow people to own them. Why? It’s an obscure little thing called FREEDOM. And as long as a car owner drives responsibly and doesn’t harm anyone, that’s OK. Right? And if someone drives in an irresponsible or criminal manner and injures or kills others, we punish THAT PERSON. Right? And we don’t try to use it as an excuse to deny LAW ABIDING people from owning a high performance car? Right? Maybe I’m mistaken, but I haven’t seen the Democrats fall down on the floor of the Senate like bratty children demanding that only professional race car drivers be allowed to drive a Corvette. Or a Porsche. Have you? Oh, and I suggest that if you want to see “sanctimonious prattle”, read your own note.

  2. I shudder to think what it’s going to be like when we have 100% government-run health care and these docs become employees of the Central Government. Till then, I’ll refer to the Framers when it comes to my unalienable rights.

  3. Hmm. Let’s see. Doctors I have known own: shotguns, bolt action rifles, Beretta M-92’s, 1911’s, Springfield XDM’s, AR’s, and one, so I was told, had a full auto “machine gun.” Another one didn’t say what he owned (and I bet it was a good inventory), just was interested in being able to trade in the parking lot. Somehow I doubt that they were consulted.

    • Really? Yeah, OK. Anytime you have a medical issue, just drink some booze. I’m sure it’ll be fine. Cancer? Booze it up. Broken bones? Booze. Infection? Booze. Severe lacerations? Booze. Doctors absolutely should NOT be involved in politics, but your assertion that doctors are useless to society is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on TTaG, INCLUDING all the anti-gun drivel that the excellent writers here routinely destroy.

      • Doctor is not useless profession. I like mine and discuss medical items with him two or three times a year, and try to follow his advise, but he does not ask stupid questions about guns in my home. Nor does he pamphlet me with meaningless tripe. As far as booze as a fix all…it could help applied to skin infection and a little red wine is suppose to be good for you, but I don’t drink.

    • Maybe harmful would be a better word than useless. All of them are necessary to some degree, and all of them inflict great harm as a counterweight to whatever good they do.

    • And you are probably one of those 350 lbs recalcitrant patients that never does their tests or takes their medications. For normal people, we are awesome.

      As for the NEJM, I sincerely apologize for those idiots on behalf of my profession.

  4. Robert you forgot to bring up their habit of handing out pain meds like candy on Halloween as a skyrocketing cause of death here in the US. Between paid med and heroin related deaths that is equal or maybe even higher now than firearm related deaths.

  5. Your doctor is FAR, FAR more likely to kill you or your loved one than your firearm is.

    Yes, even if it’s a Glock. 😉

  6. I’m trained to operate an AR by the US Army so I guess it’s ok for me to have one. So bugger off already.

  7. The New England Journal of Medicine has long been known to be a political body but now they have gone full lefty activist.

  8. Doctors kill more people each day than guns do, and that’s when they’re sober and trying real real hard.

    Abortion clinic ‘doctors’ kill 50% of the people (yes people, if they’re not people you sure as sh_t ain’t) that walk through their doors, and people seem to think that the Constitution somehow is elastic to fit over that monsterous murder.

    Freaky (D)octors can’t help their one-world buddies, and their $$$ grabbing attorneys, if they can’t do gun control.

    And they can’t, because, if we’re going to do anything goes, we’re not doing their version. Just sayin.

    • Everyone knows that Doctors involved in politics have too much time on their hands, and they couldn’t get a Dr. Oz-like show because they had too much ego, and would have to service a herd of goats to get their self-esteem back.

      As a Dr., If you cannot do, you teach, if you cannot teach, you teach gym. If you cannot teach gym, you do abortions, if you are so lame that you cannot do abortions, you publish political CR_P in medical journals, AND YOU BRING YOUR WHOLE PROFESSION DDWN. Cram your hippocratic oath up your hypocritical arse.

  9. IF YOU ARE FOR GUN CONTROL, I’M FOR YOU CONTROL.

    I’m going to devote a lot more of my attention to that.

  10. Doctors kill more patients than guns by a wide margin. Behind Cancer and Heart Disease Doctors and the medical profession are responsible for more than 225,000 deaths, or in third place, in America vs. 8,454 in 2013 by Homocide via firearms( all ) ( FBI statistics: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_8_murder_victims_by_weapon_2009-2013.xls)

    Great Idea Doc….

    • Statistics for the U.S through June 15, 2016:

      #1 – Abortions – 501,325
      #6 – Medical errors – 115,439
      #11 – Hospital infections – 45,449
      #20 – Prescription drug overdose – 6,886
      #21 – Murder by firearm – 5,276

      So the doctors are responsible for 669,099 deaths in 6 months. Guns of all types (homicides, not including suicides), 5,276. I believe that’s less than 1%.

      • Not that I don’t believe you, but can you provide a citation for these stats? For the people I’m about to share those stats with, when they ask me for a citation…

      • Not that I don’t believe you, but can you provide a citation for these stats? For the people I’m about to share those stats with, when they ask me for a citation…

  11. Hypocritical Hippocratic oath breakers

    The CDC reports that medical errors and malpractice cause over 210,000 deaths every year.

    • Well then THANK GOD, that Obamacare is going to make healthcare unaffordable for everyone. It may yet, truly save lives.

    • And diet/exercise/lifestyle “errors” “cause” infinitely more….

      99% of “malpractice”, is nothing more than scum sucking lawyers doing the only thing they are capable of doing: Harassing people. Actual “malpractice” is, at most, the cases that result in a criminal conviction. Anything else is just more theft by lawyers and their subordinate courts and legal “system.”

      Doesn’t mean the idiots behind this study are somehow anything at all beside 100% pure idiots. But just as guns don’t kill people except in very rare instances, neither does “malpractice.” Nor exploding gas tanks. Nor anything else a lawyer has ever made a buck from. Lawyers, laws and governments kill people. By preening around living large off of stealing resources, that the victims of their theft could otherwise use to better the lives of themselves and theirs.

      • Bovine excrement. Medical malpractice is NOT made up by lawyers. And I don’t have to site sources on this, I can relate first hand experiences.

        My mother developed an intestinal obstruction while she was carrying me. She went to the hospital with severe stomach pains. They diagnosed it as “false labor” and sent her home. Her condition worsened, and by the time they did something about it, gangrene had developed. She underwent 9 hours of emergency surgery after which I was born, 8 weeks premature. I was in a coma for 6 weeks. Both my mother and I barely survived.

        My mother was at church. Someone had spilled water on the floor. She slipped and fell. They took her to the hospital with complaining of severe back pain. They took x-rays and declared that nothing was wrong. They said it was just bruised and sent her home. Again, her condition worsened. She went to a specialist who took x-rays again and found her back was broken. The doctor obtained the original x-rays the hospital had taken. The break showed clearly on them. The hospital’s response…..”Ooops, guess we missed it”.

        Our family doctor that we’d had for several years moved out of town and another doctor took over. As part of his first exam of my wife, he ran routine blood tests. He found her blood sugar was in the 300’s. He said she could have gone into a diabetic coma at any time. He started immediate treatment. Her diabetes is under control now, but tests determined that she suffered permanent liver and kidney damage from it. The good part came when he pulled the old doctor’s medical records and discovered this had been showing on my wife’s blood tests for years. The old doctor either missed it, or ignored it.

        Granted. None of these cases proved fatal. But one was very near so. It doesn’t take much thought to figure that there are many, many more cases around the country who weren’t as fortunate, or as lucky as we were.

  12. The of the Bath School Massacre, Happyland Disco fire, Waco Fire, Oklahoma City or 9/11would beg to differ.

  13. “A first common-sense step would be a renewed ban on “assault weapons” — defined in terms of design features that permit shooters to fire 45 to 60 rounds per minute,…., with accuracy across distances of hundreds of yards.”

    WOW! That sounds really cool. Where can I get one of those?

  14. Did anyone else catch the conflation of suicide and mass shooting as 2/3 of gun violence, and homicide as the other third? If you deleted mass shootings, suicide would still be roughly 2/3. That right there says it all.

  15. Dear New England Journal Of Medicine,

    I have written you a new prescription. Please take two strong hands, place them on your throat and squeeze tightly. Do not release pressure until you see the white light. Move towards the white light. This Rx may be taken on an empty stomach.

    Thank you

  16. “…where we draw the line on individual access to arms that were unimaginable in the 18th century is up to us as a society to debate.”

    Looks to me like maybe we should also start debating doctors’ access to drugs and medical techniques that were unimaginable in the 18th century.

    If doctors can ignore all the lives saved by individual gun ownership, then we can ignore all the lives saved by doctors. What’s the current number of medical malpractice deaths? 200,000 per year? 400,000? Gun deaths are small potatoes compared to the problem of Death by Doctor.

    These white-coated death dealers need to be stopped.

  17. The only common ground at issue between gun owners and gun grabbers is the ground we’re standing and the ground they dream of seeing us buried under. No thanks. Keep your compromises.

  18. Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership has been fighting the gun prohibitionists at the New England Journal of Medicine since 1995, when I appeared on the TV news show CBS ‘This Morning” against then-editor of the NEJM Jerome Kassirer.

    NEJM is in the same league as the Journal of the American Medical Association. Both have sacrificed any scientific credibility they once had to jump onto the gun prohibition bandwagon. Read what we have to say about both of them at our website, including a new outrage at JAMA (blog entry will post tomorrow morning).

    • Thanks, Doc! Keep fighting the good fight! As a scientist, I find it sad to see so many professional groups both medical and scientific dishonor themselves over ideology. I appreciate your hard work.

    • Aye, carrying on the good fight. I recall when I had to present a subject in my last year of residency (1993) at Columbia Presbyterian. I chose to discuss the state of gun control issues, specifically the NEJM articles regarding Washington DC (Loftin), the “Tale of Two Cities” article, and others that escape my memory. My advisor agreed that the TOTC article was flawed due to a N of 2; not significant. It was an interesting experience, although frustrating. Their minds were made up, don’t confuse them with facts.

  19. Saying that an AR-15, or any other firearm has no practical use is one of the most inane arguments I can imagine. Everyone knows someone who owns a high performance sports car. Yet, given the deaths on the nation’s highways, which outnumber gun deaths by a wide margin, what practical use is there for a car that can go 100+ mph.? What practical use is there for a car that can go 0 to 60 mph in seconds? Yet we allow people to own them. It’s called FREEDOM. And as long as the owner behaves in a responsible manner and doesn’t harm anyone else, we’re perfectly OK with that. If the owner behaves in an irresponsible or criminal manner, we punish THE PERSON responsible. And we don’t use it as an excuse to deny them to LAW ABIDING people. And on that note, I find it rather poetic that many doctors themselves own such high performance cars.

    And the idea that if people didn’t have access to “assault weapons”, whatever those are supposed to be, they wouldn’t be able to kill as many people is equally clueless. Timothy McVeigh invalidated that argument when he killed almost 200 people in the Oklahoma Federal Building with a barrel of fertilizer. Besides which, I can aim, fire and reload my 9mm handgun as fast or faster than my AR-15. And at the short range most mass shootings occur at, it is equally deadly.

  20. “At a minimum that ought to be uncontroversial, universal background checks should be instituted for every gun sale in every setting in this country. The implementation of such a process isn’t simple, and many questions are worthy of nuanced debate: What crimes should preclude gun ownership?”

    At a minimum that ought to be uncontroversial, universal background checks should be instituted for every street corner drug transaction in every setting in this country. The implementation of such a process isn’t simple, and many questions are worthy of nuanced debate: What crimes should preclude illegal drug ownership?

    Or: At a minimum that ought to be uncontroversial, universal background checks should be instituted for every alcoholic beverage transaction in every setting in this country. The implementation of such a process isn’t simple, and many questions are worthy of nuanced debate: What crimes should preclude illegal alcohol ownership?

    As for the original question – the answer is…”…shall not be infringed.”

  21. This is called misdirection. While they’re direction everyone’s attention to 8,000 murders a year, doctors are busy killing over 200,000 patients a year. And getting paid for it.

    That’s a sweet deal.

    • It is also called “setting the bar”. When they say this should be “noncontroversial”, disagree vociferously. It is TOTALLY controversial. This is the same crap they pull with presenting the liberal MSM as “mainstream”.

  22. Years before I retired from practicing medicine I dropped my subscription to the NEJM. Every week they had an editorial like this one that was further out in left field than the New York Times. Why pay to subsidize your enemy? The hospital had a copy and a copier machine in case I ever needed to learn something they were publishing.

  23. And they wonder why the CDC is no longer allowed to use tax payer funds to do “research studies” on gun control.

  24. Doctors I’m sure you are all well intentioned however your opinions are no moe substanative than anyone elses. Yes, you see death and carnage but is not a medical advisory. It is a political, social and most of all Constitutional issue.
    I will point out that Chicago under Richard M Daley had the toughest gun law in the Country. They were illegal. Honest average law abiding citizen during that period wouldn’t be caught dead with one just dead without one. All your Gangbangers illegally possessed them. Your street criminal held at least one. Only the dumb Schmuck who believed in law and the PD protecting him before the tragedy didn’t own one. Those Doctors working at Rush on the Westside or Sinai Hospital or perhaps at the University of Chicago on the South side you also owned a gun for self protection during that period. Since the Supreme Court rightfully struck down Mayor Daleys illegal law killings continue but atleast honest citizens can now arm and protect themselves. The problem is not the gun. The Justice System that plays social nanny and keeps threatening that next time it will come down hard has created a monster. If someone commits a violent crime and has a 2 page rap sheet why isn’t the Judge sending him/her away for 20years? Enough already it isn’t the guns animals such as I described were created by our Justice system with pass after pass after pass. If they didn’t have a gun they would use a knife pick ax pipe car something.
    It’s interesting Mr Anti-Gun Mayoy Daley who live both in Chicago & Michigan has 6/7 guns now! He gave himself a perk in the last days of office lifetime body guard 24/7Detail of rotating 6 to the tune of $2.5mm/ year paid for by the taxpayers of Chicago. Remember though, he would deny me my Constitutional Right toBear Arms as per the Bill of Rights Second Amendment and arrogant doctors second guessing the Founding Fathers what they really meant. Doctors please continue to do what you do best Medicine. the truly appreciate your years of schooling dedication and expertise. Thank you

  25. Bobby boy,
    I guess that whatever bent these learned professionals of healthcare in this country should be dismissed because they are raising the issue obvious to all that guns are a health risk. Hope you don’t get sick and need these horrible people to save you.

    • Davy,

      I have spent a great deal of time working around physicians, attorneys, and scientists. I learned something very important about them: They are just men. I learned that although they are smart in their area of expertise, they are usually as dumb as rocks in others. Just because they went to school to learn a single skill does not make them some magical being that suddenly understands all subjects. A person is an idiot if he asks a physician for legal advice or if he asks his attorney for medical advice. Any advice from a physician about firearms is suspect. As a firearms instructor, I carry insurance, because there is risk of being accused of giving wrong advice. If a physician gives wrong advice about guns, guess what, he is liable, and his malpractice insurance is probably not going to cover it. My point is clear: Physicians should not give advice on subjects they know little to nothing about.

      • If doctors were trained to keep people well, there would be very little sickness considering the amount we spend on medical care. Outside a handful of the specialties, doctors are trained to be middlemen for the pharmaceutical industry.

  26. The only Doctor i trust is my Dentist, traded my primary care Doctors for a nice PA who does a far better job then any of the primary care Doctor’s ever did.

  27. Great stuff. I haven’t heard a [moderately offensive] fairy tale in a long time (not since the last time MS Warren opened her pie hole). Any time someone says “common-sense” (or “commonsense”; or “common sense”) in relation to restricting the purchase and use of firearms, I stop paying much attention.

    A while ago I had to go to the doctor’s office for a simple procedure. As a matter of policy the doctor checked my blood pressure at the start of the visit. It was high (unfortunately, it frequently is). She said she’d check it again at the end of the visit but, as a matter of policy, couldn’t let me leave if it was still elevated. On her second check my BP was still high. She said she’d give it one more try and recommended I think of someplace where I was happy. I thought “breathing, grip, stance and trigger pull” and there I was on the shooting range. After a minute or two she checked my BP again – “all good, you can go home”. I didn’t feel compelled to tell he where my “happy place” was.

    Who says firearms aren’t good for your health?

  28. Study hard, spend big bucks becoming a doctor then wipe your a_ _ on your degree and post it in a medical journal. Nice.

    We knew we could trust the medical profession, now we know for what.

  29. These Dr. cannot talk. What about the 125,000 people that dies every year from medical mistakes??? They are not held responsible

  30. http://www.naturalnews.com/038889_doctors_guns_statistics.html

    Also, view online: “Death By Doctor” by Dr. Peter Glidden. This is nothing more than deceitfully
    politically motivated socialist class warfare against innocent American gun owners! Who is
    financing this? Certainly not common blue collar working class people. No doubt this anti-gun
    agenda is being financed by treasonous powerful left wing billionaires: George Soros, Michael
    Bloomberg, Bill Gates, etc.

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