Dick Durbin
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
Previous Post
Next Post

U.S. Senators bent on more gun control used a hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee to attempt to yet again diagnose violent crime in America as a public health disease. Their only proposed cure, of course, is more gun control.

In the eyes of one witness, it was another instance of gun control efforts putting their playlist on repeat, hoping that each time they play the same soundtrack they will somehow convince America that the only prescription to solving the revolving door of crime is to abandon Constitutionally-protected rights. The problem is crime is a behavior and not a disease, best addressed by strict enforcement of existing laws.

Not Crime, Public Health

The hearing started with a video montage played by Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), highlighting many of the grotesquely-exploited images of mass murder incidents that were previously published by The Washington Post and earned media scorn. Sen. Durbin said in his opening statement, “Across the country, gun violence is a public health epidemic, plain and simple.”

Note the carefully chosen phrase. Sen. Durbin didn’t refer to criminal misuse of firearms or repeat violent offenders who prey on innocent lives. In his estimation, guns are a pathogen. Eradicating them, even for lawful owners, is the only way forward. The carefully-edited video was capped by a CBS News interview with Dr. Celine Grouner, Epidemiologist at New York University & Bellevue Hospital, to underscore Sen. Durbin’s attempt to reframe crime.

“I think reframing this as a public health crisis, you know I’m an infectious disease specialist, many of the people in my field have actually turned to gun violence recognizing that gun violence behaves like an infectious disease,” Grouner said. “It is contagious. Violence is passed on from person-to-person.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) exposed the reality of what this reframing attempt really is. He pointed to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency public health order that attempted to suspend the Second Amendment rights of citizens in certain parts of her state.

John Cornyn
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) – Shutterstock

“She was warned repeatedly by officials in her state that such a suspension violated the Constitution,” Sen. Cornyn said. “But unfortunately, that doesn’t mark the end of the road for this latest attack on what is a Constitutional right. That’s something some of our colleagues consistently overlook and the fact is that a firearm in the hands of a law-abiding citizen is not a threat to public safety.”

‘Trust Issue’

Sen. Cornyn wasn’t done exposing the ruse.

“Washington Democrats have, unfortunately, chosen to follow Governor Grisham’s lead and are now using public health as a guise to address their concerns,” he added.

Sen. Cornyn pointed to the COVID-19 response to the crisis when politicians shut down commerce and denied churches the ability to gather congregants, despite a protected right to freedom of religion and to peaceably assemble. Yet, no response was made to riots that cost the American public hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

“So we have a trust issue and a Constitutional issue when we use the public health approach to attempt to strip away core Constitutional rights,” Sen. Cornyn said. “The other problem with the public health approach is the most effective solution to firearm-related homicides and assault is effective criminal law enforcement. That means effective police, prosecutors, courts and prisons. We know that these tools actually work.”

Focus on Criminals

Sen. Cornyn effectively pointed out that law-abiding gun owners aren’t the problem. It is criminals, and the public health approach to achieve gun control disproportionately affects those who obey the law. Criminals who ignore the law aren’t affected. Smarter responses would focus on those criminals.

handcuffs arrest crime

“One of the reasons for this is concentrations of gun violence is among small numbers of the population,” he added. “In Washington, D.C., for example in 2021, a study found that only 500 people were responsible for up to 70 percent of the gun violence in the district.”

Sen. Cornyn spoke of the successes Congress has made without infringing on Second Amendment rights, including the FIX NICS Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump, and named after NSSF’s FixNICS initiative to get states to enter all disqualifying records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

“The point is, we can find ways to come together to get things done, but using public health authorities as a blanket excuse to strip away Constitutional rights or framing gun violence as an epidemic divides us more than it unites us,” Sen. Cornyn said. “And it really kind of misses the point. These are not autonomously-fired weapons. They involve human agency. And as we’ve seen, when we focus on the humans, we can have a very positive impact.”

NSSF has rejected attempts to frame criminal misuse of firearms as a public health crisis. This invites too many Constitutional questions, as Sen. Cornyn appropriately pointed out. Both federal and state governments demonstrated during the COVID-19 crisis that they were all too willing to trample on Constitutionally-protected rights in the name of “public health safety.” New Mexico’s Gov. Grisham didn’t learn that lesson and continues to deny Second Amendment rights that aren’t for her to “allow” for citizens in her state. Those rights belong to the people.

Rebranding the criminal misuse of firearms as a “public health crisis,” while not a new strategy of the political left, raises considerable concerns. Analyzing a criminal justice problem with an epidemiological lens ends with a distorted picture of a very real issue. Misidentifying the problem ensures that no real solutions will be found. No vaccine will be discovered. No pill will be developed. And more importantly, no solutions will be identified.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. The democrats are traitors. Period. They have become the “domestic enemies of the Constitution” that they themselves took an oath to defend against. But, having no honor or integrity, they have succumbed to the siren call of absolute power.

    • MM – ayup – while he is correct (for once) about what’s her name in noo mejico AND all of the others attempting to use that tactic (cee dee cee in particular), he has a LOT of gall pointing that out since he was one of the primary ‘architects’ of that safer communities act garbage tptb recently foisted on us.

  2. Democrats don’t care.

    They don’t trust ordinary people to own guns…any guns…and they’re hell bent on total confiscation. In their eyes ordinary people are all criminals who have yet to commit a crime. But real criminals are victims reacting to an oppressive system of white supremacy who aren’t really responsible for their actions.

    Being the marxists that they are they also recognize the truth of Mao’s saying: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

    They want the power, and they don’t want you to have any.

    • TRUMP 2024. Yeah I know there are sensitive people still cowering under their beds over tweets, etc. However DJT is like a DIYer assembling their first AR, etc. They learn by their mistakes so their next is better than the first. At this point there is no other person in America running for POTUS who is more qualified and deserves the office more than DJT. Generally if democRats and RINOs hate someone they are good for America…TRUMP 2024.

  3. ““Washington Democrats have, unfortunately, chosen to follow Governor Grisham’s lead and are now using public health as a guise to address their concerns,” he added.”

    Strange, getting killed by a gun is today one-half as likely than it was in 1990.

    About damn time we called them out on their lying… 🙁

  4. For public health reasons they have to deny you rights, take your property, prohibit your travel, force your business to close and demand you buy a rolling toxic fireball thats made of materials that destroy entire sections of the planets surface mining.

    Also for public health they want you glued to screens and consuming recreational intoxicants while eating a carb heavy diet sprinkled with forever chemicals and endocrine disruptors.

    For public health.

    • “Also for public health they want you glued to screens and consuming recreational intoxicants while eating a carb heavy diet…”

      As the great philosopher Homer Simpson once said :

      “Mmmm, doughnuts….” 😉

  5. Democrats don’t care about crime. They want to disarm us so they can shove communism down our throats, with the ultimate goal of confiscating our property and murdering us.

    It’s the same old story with different details.

    • They don’t need to shove communism down our throats.
      We Americans happily buy it because it’s all Made in China.
      America needs to import more MuslimMade goat cheese.
      Break up the monopoly a little bit.

    • JL – if I may be so ‘indelicate’ I’ll point out that you have the wrong body opening and the wrong direction………………

  6. I’ve been exposed to gunms a lot and never have I gotten sick from a gunm decease. I think these guys are lying.
    If everyone had good medical coverage the doctors wouldn’t give a shit about gunm shot wounds.
    They would be more then happy to shaft the insurance companies again.
    But nope, most people getting shot ain’t any kind of insurance at all so the hospitals are out money.

    • Ever since ACA, it’s also illegal not to have health insurance, there’s just no penalties anymore. Still illegal per the letter of the law. Just like murder with a gun is illegal-er than murder with a knife.

      The root problem is still criminals breaking the law and doing illegal and illegal-er things.

      • “The root problem is still criminals breaking the law and doing illegal and illegal-er things.”

        The problem is that if everyone had nothing, there would be no crime. Actually, how to get to that condition is the problem.

  7. It’s only painfully obvious what they’re doing. Ted Cruz finally slammed them on it. No fu—- kidding crime is going to soar when you don’t jail pukes, have low or no bail and have hand-slap prosecutions. Their game plan is transparent. It’s been obvious for years.

  8. Is so unfortunite that the representative sent to DC are so mis-informed, on so many issues. The only rational is more laws. When providing resources to those agencies responsible to enforce laws. Since they are so willing to add more laws that will not be enforced so that they can say look what we did. In true essence, it will do very little if any effctive change in the current climmate. We need good solid thinkers on both parties to truely look at the situation and develop a ration sane approach. If they can not see the problems at the souther n border, how will they ever recongize anything else.

  9. This quote needs to be changed: “In his estimation, guns are a pathogen. Eradicating them, even for lawful owners, is the only way forward.”; to reflect the democrats real meaning:

    In his estimation, guns are a pathogen. Eradicating lawful owners is the only way forward.

  10. Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and the libertarians both agree. A father is not necessary in the home.
    But they disagree on the cause of increasing crime. One says guns are the problem. The other says single mother lead homes are not the problem.

  11. Didn’t they try using that ‘Public Health’ angle with COVID to gain power and control over us? See where that went. Just another ruse to grab guns so they won’t have to worry about an armed rebellion when they kill Trump, declare martial law and suspend the 2024 Presidential election. They will also use digital currency to ban the sale of guns and ammo to private citizens. 2024 is going to be a very pivotal year for America.

  12. Senate Judiciary Committee needs to get their ass in gear providing oversite of the out of control Fed courts/judges. Too many prog judge nominations were rubber stamped. Judges who are now emboldened with lawless Obiden admin in office and these judges are acting far outside of the Constitution.

  13. @ Carol West
    “It’s crucial to have open conversations to understand the nuances of this issue.”

    Yes, that is the very thing taking place in the comment section of TTAG…every day.

    I’m not sure what your saying here but it sounds like your stating the obvious.

    • “I’m not sure what your saying here but it sounds like your stating the obvious.”

      For some reason, I get emailed comments on/from each posting on TTAG; noting a rising number of computer-generated comments/replies.

  14. The DEMONcRATS don’t want to solve the probem. They want to perpetuate it to be able to keep whinning about guns as “being the cause of ‘fun violence’ “


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here