JAMA Journal American Medical Association
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By Thomas E. Gift, MD

Although for some years the editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association have clearly taken an approach to the Second Amendment that is a threat to civil rights, this article, “Three Interventions to Address the Other Pandemic–Firearm Injury and Death,” is more balanced than might be expected. That said, there is still the usual implication that somehow guns act on their own and if only they would change their behavior things would be better. And if firearm homicides decreasing each decade are “pandemic”, why is that term applied to the worldwide SARS-Cov-2 contagion?

The authors have three recommendations. The first of these is to enhance safe storage of firearms. On the face of it, who could argue? The issue becomes how burdensome such an approach might be. Presumably, we would be safer as automobile drivers if we all wore helmets, but most of us aren’t inclined to take this step due to the inconvenience and burden.

Similar issues arise with regard to firearms. Worse, while helmets presumably wouldn’t make us poorer drivers, some storage methods might make firearms for personal defense less readily available, making them less useful and us less safe if they are suddenly needed.

In this context, the authors discuss the possibility of family members or friends holding the firearm of someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis. This seems quite reasonable, although enemies of the Second Amendment have been successful enough in placing restrictions on who may possess firearms that family members, in many states, would be breaking the law if they performed that service.

In discussing this recommendation, the authors talk about acceptance “across the political spectrum.” This is always desirable, but as a rhetorical maneuver it tends to limit discussion and debate, and conveys support for a position which is more favorable to the Second Amendment’s enemies than to those of us seeking to preserve our civil rights.

A second recommendation, which has been more seldom discussed, is a voluntary do-not-sell list. This would entail laws allowing individuals to voluntarily and confidentially restrict their own ability to purchase firearms. This could be done by placing one’s name into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to prevent gun purchases from dealers.

In states that have enacted such laws there are provisions to allow individuals to have their names removed later, but over only after a delay. They observe that under this law in Virginia, which goes into effect in 2021, the person can request removal from the list at any time, but such a request would take effect only after a 21-day waiting period.

Proponents believe that because many suicides seem impulsive, they will be prevented by waiting periods to purchase guns. But surveying other countries as well as our own history shows that suicide rates do not correlate at all with rates of civilian gun ownership.

Problems would arise from such legislation including using information about voluntary restriction as evidence that these individuals remain unfit to exercise their Second Amendment rights. They might also provide tools to be used against them in many other contexts, such as divorce or custody conflicts, or professional licensure. Although placing one’s name on such lists would supposedly be “confidential”, disclosure of “confidential” material may be compelled, or even stolen.

The third recommendation is for “red flag” laws, which have been widely discussed and found by Second Amendment advocates (like DRGO) to be highly problematic. Many concerns have been raised as to due process and the ongoing suspicion that these laws are something like the Hotel California–easy to lose your firearm, tough to get it back.

The idea of more responsible weapons storage raises the larger issue of learning gun safety. It seems probable that those favoring safe storage rules laws are do not favor teaching firearm safety in schools as a means of reducing accidents involving guns. It is odd that many who see education as solving all manner of problems are reluctant to see it as the key to firearms safety.

As they begin their paper, the authors talk about the Biden administration’s likely attention to reducing firearm related deaths and injuries, and in this context note that “there are limits to what policies could be implemented at the federal level given the makeup of the new Congress and the Supreme Court.“ Fortunately, it is hard to imagine the current Court endorsing greater restrictions on gun ownership.

But the new administration is a different beast. Its own stated goals encompass suppressing the right to keep and bear arms, rather than defending Americans’ constitutional rights as was sworn on January 20.


Thomas E. Gift, MD is a child and adolescent psychiatrist practicing in Rochester, New York, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical School, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

This article originally appeared at drgo.us and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. Sure, I trust the AMA. Dont think so! They always lead with the “common sense” stuff we do anyway and somewhere after that they start slipping in parts of the real agenda. Same people, different tactics!!

  2. Safe Storage should be a choice; but it shouldn’t be a controversial choice.

    The punishment for unsafe storage is already enough – either a stolen gun or a dead child (and the liability that comes with both).

    We should have programs teaching and encouraging safe storage rather than laws punishing someone already having a pretty bad day.

  3. I don’t care about the article. I’m just here to say that now that you’re back to this crap format, I’m out.

    • Yup.

      Considering how long TTAG stuck with the previous layout, I suspect this is being imposed from above. All I can think of to do is stay away, and hope that plummeting traffic numbers convince whoever-it-is that the new design is the problem. I’ll check back in a month to see if it worked, but for now, bye, and thanks for all the reviews.

    • I’ll chime and say I don’t care for the new format.

      More cumbersome and difficult to determine what is new.

      The old format was simple and easy to know if something new was added.

      I will less likely to view now and more likely to miss an article if its not posted at the top.

      If you just had a short blog list of newly added at the top, it would be better.

      Captions in pictures are more difficult to read and easy to overlook.

      I’m sure you (Dan) have your reason for altering the format.

      Its just not very good for my visiting style.

      Good luck

    • Same here, you’d think TTAG would have learned that this new format is, by a wide margin, unpopular to say the least. Not very organized, not user friendly, not mobile friendly, and an overall eyesore. Not to mention the very annoying subscription tab at every page change.

  4. Doctors should stick to what they know. Besides most doctors will never see a gunshot wound in their entire career. But they will see many victims of domestic violence, assault, robbery, and rape. And coroners get to see murder victims. The AMA needs to STFU. And I define “safe storage” as my gun is on my person at all times, even at home….BTW, this format is ugly and difficult to read.

  5. DZ, you’ve returned to the format that us despised by all. I’ll be looking for another site to hang out at.

    • “DZ, you’ve returned to the format that us despised by all.”

      What JWM said…

    • I’d be very sad to see you guys leave.

      Personally, though I will miss the chronological blog in some ways, I think this new design is strictly an upgrade, now that they’ve made some improvements. For one thing, you may notice that “what’s new” is chronologically ordered, and the large display cards all feature the publication date. Between that and the hero spots at the top, you’ve got all the new stuff. Plus it’s now MUCH easier to actually find the gun reviews and other categories of info for those that want to dive into them.

      Also, LOL at that loser hopping up and down and posting clown emojis. A poop-flinging monkey would be an upgrade.

      • What’s New isn’t all inclusive. This article isn’t there at the moment. It’s in the 4 at the top and Gun Control. The other 3 at the top are unique. All 4 should be in What’s New and their appropriate category.

  6. Add an RSS feed reader plugin to your browser. Or use another RSS feed reader. (I think Outlook can handle RSS feeds, for example.) I’m using “Feedbro” in Firefox, but others will work too.

    Subscribe to the site’s RSS feed (www.thetruthaboutguns.com/feed/). Now you (again!) get a nice linear list of stories with the newest on top. If you see a new article you want to read, click on it to go to that story in the browser.

  7. Johns Hopkins reports medical malpractice to cause 250,000 deaths a year. MD’s fix your own problems first.

    • The AMA should mind their own business. Gun storage in private homes is none of their business, period.

  8. Before we adopted our kids, I noticed new “health” background questions. To the usual questions about tobacco, alcohol, and drug use was added a question about firearms in the home. I always truthfully answered “No” to the first three, but instinctively lied and said “No” to the last one as well.

    Then, I realized I needed to teach our toddlers to also say “No” to all those doctor questions. More than that, I taught them to never tell ANYONE that there were firearms in our house or that anyone in the house were a hunter. We did role plays to get them to understand that no friends and no authority figures had a need to know.

    I taught them gun safety, too, all the NRA safety rules. It wasn’t until they were sixth graders when I let them handle weapons to learn to respect them and to extinguish secrete desires to lay hands on them.

    My oldest noted how happy she was to keep her friends in the dark, because her best friend found out that another friend’s father had firearms somewhere in the house, and the little miscreant set out on hunt for treasure. My daughter soon ended her friendship with her, because she had become obsessed with finding hidden guns, tobacco, alcohol, and drugs in all her friends homes.

    When my girls became teens, I took them out target shooting with a .22 caliber rifle. They learned a lot about the law and gun safety. Were it not for COVID lockdowns, we’d all be shooting handguns at our local gun club. My wife and daughters all plan to get concealed carry permits, but I’m not so sure I want the government holding “strike first” information when they start their firearms confiscation programs. Indeed, if they do start confiscation, we will consider it an act of war. Who then would be an authority to control my access to firearms? Permits would be rendered a moot issue.

    • What a dangerous and dark world you hide in. When my kids were toddlers they started learning firearm safety. By the time they were 5, guns were neither mysterious nor unusual. My son got his first rifle at 6. My daughter thought it was wonderful when I asked her permission to give my grandson a rifle for his 6th birthday. Neighbors know I have firearms, most of them do also. A police officer came by the other day to set up a schedule to visit the elementary school to teach a gun safety class. (With an officer there, no Karen can object about the legality of me bringing firearms to school.) And, yes, in my area all kids are in school, not isolated at home.

      • I might want to move to wherever you are now. The Karens and Kens here would probably faint at the sight of a pop tart chewed into a gun shape. And they’d only faint after running out of air reee-ing.
        Also, not a fan of the new layout.


    • Stop spilling your moonshine on the keyboard and the CAPS LOCK key won’t be stuck down.

      And for safes, at least lock up the guns you aren’t home carrying.

  10. This is not the first time that the medical profession has been used to justify passing unconstitutional anti civil rights laws. When you get into studying the history of gun control like I did. Deep into the “weeds”. You discover the various educated professional organizations who Justified gun control. The Academy and all its different educational areas totally supported racist gun control.

    And American medicine was just as racist as any other area of the American professional Society.

    Just because they have a medical degree does not absolve them of their racist views about gun control, and trying to reduce the number of injured black people in gun free zone public housing projects.

    The Eugenics programs of the early 20th century. All run by medical progressives. In the most Progressive states in the Country. California New York excetera excetera.

  11. I take my car to the mechanic to fix what is wrong and not lecture me on how to drive and preventative maintenance. What is it about the medical profession that they think it is their job to run our lives? I smoke. My choice. Fine, tell me all about the risks and then let me make my own decision. All this from a profession that kills way more people annually than the use of guns. What hypocrisy.

  12. England has safe storage laws, like locking your OU shotgun at the gun club.
    Volu9ntary submission to do-not-sell? just don’t buy one. Asking for this would be a confirmation you’re unfit to own a gun in their eyes and you’ll be on The List. Forget flying too.
    Red Flag laws are so clearly a disarming tool outside of any due process and ripe for abuse. I suggest using them on as many leftists as possible as we know they own guns too. Especially after this past year.

    Bring the old format back. Please. Who told you this was better?

  13. Hmmm…my newest Medicare Mohammed doesn’t really even want to see me. They’re moving to “teleconference” BS let alone quiz me in gunz. Watching Outdoor channel instead of the Dims illegal impeachment. Where’s my $$$?!?

  14. Well, looks like TTAG kept its promise to bring back the hated new format. I’ll keep my end of the deal and remove TTAG from my bookmarks and take my traffic elsewhere.

  15. This format sucks. It obfuscates news for no reason aside from attempting to look more modern and trendy. Cya

  16. Hey DanZ I’m on board with crappy site design too……

    So how did this happen? I’m sure you must have had a reason.

  17. When the AMA steps up to some responsibility for the number of lives lost or damaged by the ‘other’, other epidemic, over prescription of addictive pain killers, I’ll consider listening to them for recommendations on firearms safety. That medical screw up alone has affected more people I know directly than improper use of a gun. All I’ve seen at my health care providers’ facilities are notices indicating their lawyers have been at work to put blame on patients.

  18. The Journal of the American Medical Association have highly educated personnel .
    Much smarter then I, therefore I am compelled to believe them.
    Support your Local Law Enforcement
    Support President Biden
    God bless America

  19. THEY need to stick to their Jobs patching victims up and taking care of the sick, people could then get the help THEY are supposed to be receiving more efficiently and far less expensive.

  20. I’ve been following this site for quite some time and think I’ve commented maybe twice. This new format is absolutely terrible. Why?! Seriously, why?! The old format was fine; new at the top, scroll down for older stuff. W*F is this new nonsense?! Who did this to you?!

    It’s unintuitive, overly complicated and unnecessary. And yes I do find it bad enough to not visit this sight anymore.

    We get it, you hired some hip new team, prob paid some good money to some savvy nerds. Guess what? It sucks. Mission failed.

    When you guys police this garbage up I’ll happily come back. Until then I guess it’s just TFB.

    This is like the digital equivalent of your favorite restaurant changing the menu. Or loud neighbors moving in next to you.

    Seriously though, this was one of my happy places in this cruel cruel world. But F*** us I guess, just do your own thing.

    I hope whoever did this gets gum in their hair, or steps in dog sh**, or has to get a replacement birth certificate in person, gets a canker sore and has to go to a lemonade tasting party, oil stain on their favorite shirt…

    I literally gave my phone the middle finger while writing this. Hate you guys!!! FIX IT!!

  21. Looks like they brought back that early 2000’s blog format look and feel – very amateur – extremely poor human factors – just bad all around. Light grey fonts that many people can’t read – bad layout – disorganized look – I find my eyes searching all over the page to find what I’m looking for. Very inefficient – wastes too much of my time. Nine years now. If they don’t provide a “classic look and feel” button in another few days, I’m out.

  22. Y’all complain way to much. You don’t like it? Go do your own reviews and find your own firearm stories. Bunch of crybabies.

  23. My dentist gave me a few pounds of alligator tail from a 13 footer he had taken behind his house (yes, it was legal). A week later my regular doctor offered to trade me 2 pounds of venison for 1 pound of gator. When my cardiologist heard about it a few months later, she complained that she hadn’t been able to get a gator permit for three years (quota draws).

    I don’t think I need fear getting lectures on the dangers of gun ownership from my local medical community!

  24. I can believe that some suicide is impulsive and a person on the line who waits a day may change their mind.

    The problem comes when someone you thought you could trust goes to court to spread your problems can make you feel embarrassed and betrayed. Then the city or state sends armed people to your place to confiscate your property which can lead to direct armed conflict. Even if it doesn’t lead to that it can make you feel powerless.

    I don’t know who’s studied what pushes depressed people over the edge. Feeling isolated, betrayed, and powerless are all really powerful motivators to someone feeling suicidal

    But gun grabbing politicians have never cared if their policies are harmful or not.

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