An Open Letter to Dr. Ben Carson: Gun Control Politics at the CDC


[Editor’s note: Last week presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson hinted his possible support for the creation of a database of “dangerous people” to reduce mass shootings by preventing such people from gaining access to firearms. Dr. Carson further stated he does not oppose repealing the ban on federal funding for gun research at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Below is DRGO’s open letter to Dr. Carson responding to his statements.]

Dear Dr. Carson:

As a nationwide group of fellow freedom-loving health care professionals, we are glad to see your candidacy for President.  We are gratified to have seen a change in your public statements on firearm policy since you entered the primary race. Along the way you have apparently become educated in the demographics and political philosophy of the American right to keep and bear arms.  These are things your otherwise extraordinary career may not have prepared you for, and we thank you for making the effort to learn them . . .

Still, your recent remarks supporting restoration of funding for gun research to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) make us wonder if you know why Congress reined in the CDC’s gun control research in the 1990s.

Part of the mission of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership is to guard against biased, agenda-driven advocacy science that attacks the right of gun ownership under the guise of legitimate science.  Unfortunately, gun control advocates at the CDC long ago assumed a central role in funding and supporting such advocacy science.  And as you know, research motivated by a political agenda is not real science at all.

I was one of three medical doctors who testified before the House Appropriations Committee in 1996 about the CDC’s misdeeds. We presented testimony documenting the CDC’s political agenda against gun ownership. Further, we showed the committee evidence of misuse of taxpayer money to fund gun control advocacy:

  • The CDC funded research culminating in numerous medical journal articles. The articles invariably proclaimed gun ownership to be a public health hazard. The most controversial was “Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home,” (New England Journal of Medicine 329, no. 15, October 7, 1993). Its authors claimed that keeping a gun in the home increased the risk of becoming a homicide victim.
  • The authors incorrectly used a case control method to claim a causal relation between gun ownership and homicide risk. They improperly generalized from a highly selection-biased study group of inner city homicide victims to gun owners across the country, even in rural and low-crime areas.
  • In an official 1993 CDC publication, Public Health Policy for Preventing Violencesenior CDC administrators proposed allowing only police, guards, and the military to have guns. As an alternative they proposed the outright prohibition of gun ownership (see page 19 of original document).
  • In 1995 CDC grant money was used by the Trauma Foundation, a group of San Francisco gun control activists, to publish a newsletter promoting gun control. The CDC-funded newsletter advised readers to “organize a picket at gun manufacturing sites” and to “work for campaign finance reform to weaken the gun lobby’s political clout.”
  • The director at that time of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, has repeatedly made derogatory public statements about gun ownership. In a December 9, 1993 Rolling Stoneinterview Director Rosenberg was quoted as saying he “envisions a long term campaign, similar to tobacco use and auto safety, to convince Americans that guns are, first and foremost, a public health menace.”

We would not be surprised if you are unaware of the valid reasons for Congress’s defunding of CDC firearms research. Most major media outlets refuse to mention that history in their many protests about the defunding, since they are almost all unapologetic supporters of strict gun control.

More detail on the history of Congress’s defunding of the CDC is available at DRGO’s website in the three-part series titled “Public Health Gun Control: A Brief History”.  Broader commentary and documentation of the public health community’s deliberate campaign against gun owners is available at the website. We invite your critical review. And we wish you the best in the months to come.

Yours truly,

Timothy Wheeler, MD

Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
A Project of the Second Amendment Foundation


This post originally appeared at  Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership and is reprinted here with permission.


  1. avatar FedUp says:

    Database of ‘dangerous people’?
    You mean, like Offender Tracking Information System?

    1. avatar Out_Fang_Thief says:

      Don’t you mean S.C.M.O.D.S.?

  2. avatar juliesa says:

    OT, but in the debate, Hillary just shouted out that myth that the gun industry is the only one that can’t be sued. What a gd liar.

    1. avatar pg2 says:

      To my knowledge, the only industry in the US that is protected by the government, and shielded from any liability from any damages it products cause, is vaccine manufacturers.

  3. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    I bet those cops have got “SCMODS”.

    1. avatar Rad Man says:

      Surely you don’t mean the State County Municipal Offender Data System?

      1. avatar Leadslinger says:







  4. avatar William Burke says:

    Dr. Carson is a putz. I don’t trust him, and neither should you.

    1. avatar Rad Man says:

      I did trust him but seeing as you don’t, now I don’t either. Thanks.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      Who should I trust? My guy is Ted Cruz, but that doesn’t mean I trust him or any politician.

      1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

        I like Ted too. For the Supremes…and president. I really doubt the good Dr. will win the nomination.

      2. avatar Jordan says:

        Honestly, none of them. Anyone who wants a job with that much power absolutely can’t be trusted (as most everyone knows, power is extremely corrosive to a person’s morality; some more than others *cough* *cough* Hillary). However, we must give someone the job and it comes down to who do you distrust the least and think will abuse the position the least.

        1. avatar WedelJ says:

          The best person to wield power is the person who doesn’t want to rule, but unfortunately the people who don’t want the job don’t run.

      3. avatar Chrispy says:

        I’d vote for Ted as well, but the more I see from Marco Rubio the more intrigued I am by him.

      4. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

        Trust but verify is an old saying in quality management.

    3. avatar Gringo Cracker says:

      Ben Carson is a patriot, which, after the last seven dreadful years, is the highest qualification for the office, as far as I’m concerned. Moreover, he’s a true intellect, not an ideologue, which means he’s willing to learn and adapt, not stick with some hidebound position or agenda. Given the opportunity, he’d get my vote.

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I’ve read a few articles over at DRGO since this post popped up.
    I really like those guys.

    1. avatar DRGO says:

      Thank you Tom. Please share with anyone in your area who is pro-gun and in a healthcare profession.

      1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        I know several pro gun doctors and additional non-physician healthcare providers. I will make sure they know of DRGO and encourage membership.

        Two of the Drs I know are AAP members and cringe often at some of the things that come out of the leadership of that org, especially on gun issues.

  6. avatar Paul53 says:

    DRGO is open to non physician healthcare providers as members. I first heard of them when the above letter arrived with a membership application (apparently either NRA or State Board of Nursing mailing lists came to their attention). Nurses, PA’s, others, join up! They claimed a membership of a few hundred when I joined (fee is optional).

    1. avatar DRGO says:

      Thank you for the clarification. We are all-inclusive. Healthcare professionals who are publicly active in their support of the RKBA are a powerful social force in the court of public opinion.

  7. avatar 2Asux says:

    An open letter posted in an obscure forum? What a waste of a good message. An open letter is useful only if the writer is confident the intended reader actually reads the outlet posting the open letter. Do we seriously expect Ben Carson to cruise the internet, looking for open letters, especially open letters on gun control?

    This open letter should have been placed in WaPo, NYT, Chicago Sun, LA Times, and other major outlets, simultaneously.

    1. avatar DRGO says:

      Keep watching other media outlets who received a copy of the letter. It’s their editorial decision to publish or not.
      But, please, don’t condescend because what you call an “obscure forum” is an organization has been around since the mid 90s, testified to congress, affected national and state gun policy and knew to send Carson’s campaign a copy of the letter.

      1. avatar 2Asux says:

        The power brokers in DC recognize the NRA as the main, major, serious, famous/infamous, most well known face/voice of gun nuts. The same power brokers do not read blogs, or forums supporting something the power brokers don’t like. Thus, if not one of the sources I listed, the source is “obscure”. If the writer cannot get a major outlet to publish a story/article/opinion, that is sufficient evidence the source is “obscure”, illegitimate, crazy, silly, not worth noting.

        It is one thing to ask an editorial board to approve an opinion piece, but if the writer is really serious, offer to buy advertising space (with dinosaur news outlets, it is hard to turn down cash, but not impossible).

        Rather than an “open letter”, it might be more powerful to publish this letter as being sent directly to the campaign staff (or Ben Carson himself). Playing by media rules is not a winning proposition.

        1. avatar DRGO says:

          It sounds like you are well-equipped to form an organization and demonstrate to us how to do what we apparently have not know how to do over the last 20+ years.

        2. avatar 2Asux says:

          Interesting leap of logic. However…..I know my limitations, and while being grateful that you think I am more than I am, no thanks.

          My point was and remains that an “open letter”, especially one this powerful, is a waste if the letter sits only on a forum ignored by power brokers and the print media. The recommendation was twofold – send the letter directly to Ben Carson, buy ad space in the major print organs and get the message publicised in a manner that will get proper attention. Not sure where either of those proposals indicates competency or desire to found an organisation, but I again thank your for your kind thoughts.

        3. avatar DRGO says:

          The benefit of experience is knowing when to go for the gold and when to go for the glory.
          The point was to educate Carson and the public about the pertinent history.
          The campaign has the letter.
          If it affects his thinking on the issues without any media that meets your standards making a peep about it, then the goal is achieved.

        4. avatar 2Asux says:

          Having the letter delivered directly to where it would do most good was my entire point. Didn’t see that outcome in the original posting. Glad to know the campaign now has responsibility to make decisions about the legislative history vis-a-vis how Dr. Carson frames his stance on 2A.

      2. avatar 'liljoe says:

        I think he/she is referencing TTAG as an obscure forum…. in which case, no worries, this website hasn’t been obscure in many years

        1. avatar DRGO says:

          The meaning of the name “2Asux” just occurred to me.

        2. avatar 2Asux says:

          Did I not fully define “obscure” as used in my original comment?

          RE: 2Asux…it really does for gun-grabbers, lefties, liberals and statists.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    It’s one thing for DRGO to stand up to the CDC, for which I applaud them. It’s quite another to stand up to the AMA, the most insidious and devious group ever assembled. In that endeavor, I wish the DRGO well.

    1. avatar DRGO says:

      It is one of the fronts on which we are engaged. See our site for our documentation of the history of their anti-gun bias.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I am well aware of the AMA’s anti-gun bias. It’s just as bad as the ABA’s anti-gun bias, which is why I haven’t been a member of that gang of thugs for 35 years.

  9. avatar thx855 says:

    I wish he would have kept teaching neurosurgery. So many people helped in a very really, very important way. No good will come from his involvement into politics.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      His involvement in politics might just encourage a few other black people who use their brains to stand up to the left wing statists and quit allowing the Sharptons, Jacksons and Obamas to do their thinking for them.

  10. avatar gsnyder says:

    I think Trump has taken the better position as he just got past all the BS and supported. I am however very pleased there are people in this world who actually care and are willing to help pass on facts to those in situations whereas they are in dire need.

  11. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    I think Dr. Carson is a great human being.

    I do not trust him with respect to support for our natural, second amendment-protected rights.

  12. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I just decided why so many academicians, lawyers, “journalists”, “artists”, and healthcare practitioners are Progressives: they are immersed in a work environment where a grasp of reality and results are not necessary … where they are rewarded (paid and promoted) for being busy (doing something) and making a big show (doing what feels good).

    The real question in my mind: does that work environment warp the brains of the people who work in those fields — or do people who have no stomach for reality, accountability, and results naturally gravitate toward those fields? Is it any wonder these types embrace the “do something because it feels good” aspect of civilian disarmament?

    Imagine what our life would be like if janitors, skilled trades, factory workers, engineers, farmers, mechanics, and business operators got paid for showing up and doing what feels good without actually delivering their product or service? Is it any wonder so many of these types reject the “do something because it feels good” aspect of civilian disarmament?

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      You are describing perpetual children. Where would a species that wants a comfortable, risk-free, no responsibility life go?

      1. avatar pg2 says:

        Society is being shifted slowly but surely to a place where all adults are mentally children. Much easier to control.

  13. avatar pg2 says:

    As soon as this guy said he supports MANDATORY vaccines, I never took another word he said seriously. Mandatory medical procedures have no place in a free country.

    1. avatar george from fort worth says:

      if it saves even and only one child, vaccinations must be mandatory. what kind of uncaring slob are you?

      1. avatar pg2 says:

        Exactly. ‘if it saves even and only one child, gun control must be mandatory. what kind of uncaring slob are you?’

        1. avatar george from fort worth says:

          makes you wonder why the anti-gun crowd hasn’t taken-up this battle cry.

        2. avatar pg2 says:

          My point is that they have. Hopefully you are being sarcastic. The same propaganda lines are being used in both attacks on individual freedom, and many in the public unquestioningly repeat these propaganda lines with little or no knowledge on either subject.

      2. avatar pg2 says:

        My point is that they have. Hopefully you are being sarcastic. The same propaganda lines are being used in both attacks on individual freedom, and many in the public unquestioningly repeat these propaganda lines without knowledge on either subject.

        1. avatar george from fort worth says:

          just exploring my sensitive side, cuz i’m a 90s kind of guy.

  14. avatar george from fort worth says:

    my bad. i meant if only one child not a member of a neighborhood gang, or any other inner city resident. we can save the right kind of child through removal of guns from law-abiding citizens. oh, there may still be the odd person, mentally disturbed, who will get a gun from the criminal element, but it will be impossible for the right kind of child to be killed with a legally possessed gun. and maybe gun confiscation won’t save all the right kinds of children, but if even one is protected, disarming the law-abiding citizens is a price we must pay for a quantum leap in safety and security. taking guns away from legal owners means a good guy with a gun will have more difficulty becoming a bad guy with a gun.

  15. avatar 2maik7 says:

    He’s still a charlatan that thinks the earth is 10,000 years old, mankind was made in its current form, there was a worldwide flood, the seperation of church and state (which like it or not is a necessary part of the First Amendment in order to prevent tyranny – if you don’t understand that I suggest you learn where the Founder’s were coming from a little better), biological evolution is a lie from Satan, and on and on. All this despite the *evidence*, which if you have an objective bone in your body that isn’t influenced by ideology you would understand.

    He is the reason, others like him as well, I don’t have anyone to vote for. I’m looking for the intelligent candidate that understands the nature of evidence and supports every part of the Bill of Rights. I’m looking for the candidate who has studied the enlightenment values that created our fine country. The values that our Founders were very well aware of. The values that motivated them. I’m looking for the candidate that has read and studied Locke, Voltaire, and the plethora of philosophers who have influenced and shaped western ideas on individual liberty. People like Jefferson and Madison – at least the modern day version that understands the power of knowledge as well as the importance and nature of evidence. I’m not looking for a candidate like Carson who labels people such as this as elitists. If Carson was alive during the Founding of our country – Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Monroe – would all have been dinegrated as elitist. Intellectualism is not something to insult in order to appeal to the simple minded voter. Carson is a simpleton (if you respond to this that he is a Dr. I have nothing to say to you – Bill Birnes of UFO fame has a PH.d as well, there are plenty of idiots with doctorates) who doesn’t have a clue about the philosophical ideas that are the foundation of our liberties. The same can be said about Trump and the rest of the Republican field. The democrats at least have knowledge of these concepts – although they reject some of them. Mention the transistion of the divine right of kings to the consent of the governed to Carson and you are likely to witness mouth breathing and much drool. People like Carson and Trump are purposelly trying to appeal to the simple minded and ignorant in our country. The right needs to stop alienating itself from the intelligent and the educated. The right needs another William F. Buckley. The right needs to stop placing the Sarah Palins, the Ben Carsons, the Michelle Bachmans, and the Donald Trumps into the forefront carrying our ideas and arguments!

    1. avatar pg2 says:

      “People like Carson and Trump are purposelly trying to appeal to the simple minded and ignorant in our country.” Are there any other type of people left in this country? You give the other candidates way too much credit, they are all using similar strategies to appeal to the lowest common denominator, dumbed-down, TV spoon fed public.

    2. avatar Haap says:

      You seem to be everything you want in a candidate. Are you running?

  16. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I look forward to Dr Carson’s response.

  17. Timothy Wheeler I am glad you asked the hard question.
    Thomas Jefferson’s letter to James Madison on January 30, 1787 have the last word: “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.” I have the right to feel safe and that includes carrying a loaded firearm. I have the right to protect myself and if you don’t like it tough $hit.
    The 2nd Amendment was put into the Constitution so the people could protect themselves from a corrupt government. No double standards put DC politicians on Obamacare and SS and take away their guns.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.

    1. avatar 2Asux says:

      You may not be an avid reader of this blog, but we have seen stories where federal courts ruled a city is permitted to restrict 2A if it makes the residents feel safe. Owning a gun makes others feel unsafe, you must accept and obey restrictions on your right to self-defense. Feeling safe because you have/carry a gun is not considered a superior claim against those who feel unsafe because or your (our) guns. Declaring a right cannot be restricted is not a valid defense (affirmative defense).

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