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By Robert B. Young, MD

Too often we still hear that guns are the problem. For example, esteemed Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Tweet (“light footing” it around her responsibility for Chicago’s safe streets): “We have a common enemy: it’s guns & the violence they bring.”

Yet there has been a gradual shift in messaging by our distinguished gun control competition. In recent years, they’ve backed off somewhat from their longtime gun ban and confiscation demands and moved more toward restrictions around the edges.

That doesn’t mean they’ve given up their desire to ban guns (or “buy-back” certain types, leading toward more). But they’re learning (like Beto O’Rourke and Mehmet Oz running in state elections this year) that you don’t win popularity contests demanding to seize law-abiding voters’ lawful personal property.

That’s to the good, despite their irredeemable craving to take your guns. They can get nothing done if they aren’t broadly popular, culturally and politically…and the winds have been blowing against them. So even though we can’t trust their ultimate goals, they are actually getting farther away from enacting them and they know it.

There have even been some glimmers of rational thinking by people from whom we might have expected worse. In the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom article covering much of Doctors for Responsible Gun Owners’ mission, “No Doctor Should Prescribe Gun Control,” Tennessee emergency physician Matt Tipton said “Gun ownership should not be treated as a public-health issue. Instead, gun safety should be taught.” [Ed: Matt, have you joined DRGO yet?]

Another emergency physician wrote in Emergency Medicine News last month that we should be “Standing AFFIRM—Putting the ‘Public’ in Public Health.” Dr. Christopher Barsotti correctly asserts “that our society’s current approach to firearm injury prevention—political advocacy for legal control of a consumer device—has not yielded results.” He realizes that “firearm injuries happen as a result of gun misuse, and . . . [that f]irearm safety training teaches us how to use the device safely.” The problem comes when “[h]urt people hurt themselves and others. True firearm safety requires device education with health education,” i.e., training. Amen!

Going on, “[h]undreds of millions of guns are privately owned by tens of millions of gun owners, including more than a third of emergency physicians and more than 40 percent of trauma surgeons.” Solving the “public health” (still has to say that) “requires the engagement of . . . the U.S. population that chooses to exercise its Second Amendment constitutional right.” That’s right, Dr. Barsotti, and nothing’s going to work without us. “Preventing firearm injuries and death is a priority concern for all Americans.” We’ll be watching to see where this goes.

Also encouraging is that some typically anti-rights “researchers” are writing that the only practical intervention is to address the actors in violence, not the weapons. Two studies regarding suicide demonstrate this.

On March 14, JAMA Network published “Mental Health Treatment Seeking and History of Suicidal Thoughts Among Suicide Decedents by Mechanism, 2003-2018”, in which Allison Bond, MA et al. document the differences between those who commit suicide by shooting themselves compared to those who do it by other methods. They found that “that suicide decedents who die by firearm are less likely to seek treatment, more likely to die on their first attempt, and more likely to tell someone about their suicidal thoughts or plans.”

JAMA Network

It’s not startling that someone who chooses especially lethal means is less likely to seek help and more likely to die. What’s interesting is that the same person may nonetheless be more likely to mention to someone they might do that. Most people who think about suicide drop hints and clues, and it’s not clear that there is any reason that those contemplating suicide by firearm should be more likely do that. This incongruity will take more work to resolve, and could be productive.

Credit JAMA Network for worrying about suicide rather than the means. At the same time, there are plenty of anti-gun types who will take this to justify red flag laws to confiscate guns and accomplish nothing further.

December 2021 brought “Alcohol and drug offenses and suicide risk among men who purchased a handgun in California” in Preventive Medicine by Garen Wintemute MD et al. Yes, the usual suspects.

Garen Wintemute
Dr. Garen Wintemute, Director of the UC-Davis Violence Prevention Research Program (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

First of all, this was a “cohort study,” not randomized or blinded. Their highlighted finding is that men with alcohol charges who buy handguns were more at risk of firearm suicide than men with drug charges who buy handguns. The rest is window dressing.

Such a finding could easily be misused: “We must stop all men arrested for alcohol intoxication from buying handguns!” Yet the real point is very different.

The study may have identified a very precise cohort of men (alcohol charges + handgun purchase) whose elevated risk of dying by suicide may be worth very specific intervention. However, their own results show that their risk of dying by firearm suicide is no different from their risk of dying from any cause of suicide. So the intervention must be attuned to mental status and life stressors…not to gun ownership per se.

Investigations like these seek to conclude that dealing with the guns is the preferred intervention, even when they demonstrate otherwise. That these studies get published at all underlines how such authors have to misrepresent their work in order to pad their CVs and support the agendas of their funders. But once public, even their facts speak for themselves.

Since we’re talking about suicide, let’s close on a useful note. One of the very few things that Bloomberg mouthpiece The Trace has come up with is “Where to Find Help If You’re Experiencing Suicidal Thoughts or Depression.” Once you’re past the first self-congratulatory paragraph, there are some really useful pointers to resources that can help prevent tragedies in which almost 46,000 Americans died in 2020, the latest year with a full count. For this, we can all help each other regardless of politics and other agendas.


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. He is also the editor of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. 

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


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  1. Kinda head-scratching here.

    The primary responsibility is for government, at all levels, is to save people from themselves…by any means necessary.

    People not involved in government are simply too random, chaotic, unreliable and weird. And there are too many of them, to boot. Just look at how many people die in the US.

    How many could have been saved if government provided strong safety measures, for the sake of driving out unnecessary deaths?

    CDC data show us that deaths from medical procedures are almost at the top of the CDC list of causes of death. Medical practice should be tightly controlled, and only permitted for those people the least likely to suffer from medical procedures; those most likely to survive (and old people, those greater in years than 50, are the least likely to survive).

    But the thing that is most puzzling is that emergency trauma services exist. Just look at the death rate for those undergoing emergency treatment, especially those with traumatic injuries. Ban emergency medicine, and the number of deaths in ER/ED will fall almost to nothing.

    It is indisputable that very few people die over the age of 100. People should be mandated to follow government mandates to engage in healthy living, such that 99% of the populace reaches 100, ensuring long life after (not to mention the savings to government for medical services; money that can be spent saving the larger population (i.e. the world) from extinction in the next 12yrs due to climate change (human made, or otherwise).

    • And if someone will not obey the mandates, shoot the mofo and delete him from the statistics!

      • “And if someone will not obey the mandates, shoot the mofo!”

        That’s kinda harsh. Was thinking it kinder to let them comfortably starve to death. You know, like at free centers around the city, where they can watch videos of what America looked like in better times.

        • since the late 1990’s doctors kill more than 250 000 people every year thru neglect, mistakes and most from cross contamination (not washing their hands between patients). This does not cover those mutilated, forgetting needles, sponges or gauze inside or those that had the wrong appendage removed. This is yet another coverup in the Divided Socialist STATE of Amerika… by who? The AMA. Get rid of the bad cops and the bad DOCS! weed em out!

    • “The primary responsibility is for government, at all levels, is to save people from themselves”

      That’s bass ackwards. The primary responsibility of people is to save themselves from government.

      • “That’s bass ackwards. The primary responsibility of people is to save themselves from government.”

        What we have here, is failure to communicate. You just got to gitcheer mind right.

        • and keep your gear clean, for future use. the communist will NEVER stop lying, cheating or killing while still breathing. They gotta go

    • LOL this shat

      “from extinction in the next 12yrs due to climate change (human made, or otherwise).”

      I heard 20 years ago we only had 15 years to go

      if true …then why isn’t the world dead now?
      and if you want to save the world from evil ‘carbon gasses’ you best walk your butt into china and start there, as they pollute 10 times more than the US does.
      but if you do, I see an AK round coming for the back of your head because they don’t care

      • “LOL this shat”

        You should have stopped, right there, and enjoyed the laugh.

        Reading is fundamental; comprehension is imperative.

      • I’m freezing my ass off when I feed in the mornings, highly unusual for this time of year, I say bring on the global warming! A few more degrees would sure make my mornings easier. Also the coldest turkey season I recall, ever.
        Of course, I’ve still managed to bust two so far.

        By and large, to think we pitiful humans can actually impact the overall climate is the height of arrogance. Climate do what climate do. Who’d they blame the Ice Age on?

      • More likely, because they know better. We have a climate hoax, where everybody wishes to argue about whether the weather changes now and then (climate change, like Spring to Fall), while completely ignoring the obvious question of whether mankind has anything whatsoever to do with it. Global Warming was proven to be a hoax, the globe is not warming, so we change the claim to “climate change”. Two weeks ago we were having lows in the 20s here in central Texas. Now the lows are in the low 70s. GOOD LORD! IT’S CLIMATE CHANGE! How stupid can we be?

  2. Thank you Dr. Young.

    Your articles are well-written and well-thought out from a medical establishment insider’s point of view. The percentages of ER docs and surgeons owning firearms that you mention is surprising news to me (I thought the two physicians that I duck and deer / elk hunt with were anomalies…apparently not).

    Appreciate the work you and DRGO are doing on my behalf.

  3. And to think according to the CDC and the AMA. Approximately 250,000 people die every year from medical malpractice and mistakes perpetrated by doctors and other medical personnel. Doctor heal thyself.

    • Thank you Darkman. I made the same claim after you. Restore the republic that Lincoln destroyed. Leave me alone! !

      • “Restore the republic that Lincoln destroyed.”

        Think it is a bit more complicated than that.

        The Repubs were trying to evade the constitution, regarding slavery. The matter should have gone through the courts, and to the SC (Lincoln was warned that the outcome was not guaranteed).

        In the end, it was PTG Beauregard who touched off the powder keg (with the ill-considered support of the Southern politicians). Until the SC had rendered a verdict on the constitutionality of modifying the Constitution without an Amendment, the Southern States were premature in declaring secession.

        It remains unknown whether either side actually wanted an SC ruling. But, after the dust settled, it did require a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery in the US.

        • Say what? Lincoln was the first REPUBLICAN president, and he abolished slavery all by himself, without assistance from Congress or SC. Exactly HOW were the Repubs “trying to evade the Constitution regarding slavery”?

  4. Maybe we need to roll back school curriculum and reintegrate (see what I did there?) firearms instruction across the board, say at eighth grade, and include air pistols and air rifles in gym classes just like they use to do when firearms were considered a tool for sportsmen and women not a thing to be feared. Also came in handy during those two times of major unpleasantness, you know WW’s I, and II? The fact that America contributed Riflemen, not cannon fodder made a difference in both of those. Also the independence and confidence of those who feel they can defend themselves throughout their walk in life is a major bonus!

  5. WOW! It’s amazing to me that some idiots have to be told this time and time again. But, some people still refuse to get it. Unreal! Like it’s rocket science or something and not plain old common sense.

  6. Leftists are not smart enough to realize that it is people who kill, not guns. An inanimate object can do NOTHING without a human.

      • It Was A Corn Filled Three Flusher Typical Leftist quarter wit, trying to be a half wit. You bring the word stupid a whole brand new meaning.

        Since when did a gun ever kill anyone, Lefty.

    • when a cops shoots and kills, IT is the person. When a citizen shoots and kills, IT is the gun? hypocrats & demoncrites (vise versa)

  7. The greatest threat free people everywhere face is not guns it is progressivism and the policies it brings.

  8. I want Lightfoot to tell the CPD and the criminals who are shooting people to lead the way and abandon their guns and the violence they bring. Just for the lols. She could start very first with the huge amount of armed security she has.

    We’ll watch, lead from ahead Groot.

  9. First off, it is time for everyone (politicians and activists) to pull their heads out of their third point of contact. No matter what a person was killed with, be it a gun, knife, tire iron or a rubber chicken, on the other end was a person. None of the aforementioned items or million other things will rise up on its own and decide to kill a person, regardless of color. Anybody that thinks otherwise needs to be locked up and have a serious mental exam. You cannot do away with any and every thing that is used to kill a person. If a person’s brains are dashed out against the floor, what are you going to do? Ban the construction of floors? What if it’s a dirt floor? Deal with the people and stop using what they use as an excuse to try and control that item and thereby the people.

  10. The left doesn’t believe in self responsibility and never will it seems.
    Blame this, them, then make excuses for the ones truly responsible.
    The mantra of the left.

  11. To the Commies, it’s never been about the public’s safety. Using the crime angle to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens is a convenient excuse to hide behind. It is all about power and control, it’s not about your safety, but theirs. What we are witnessing in Ukraine is a prime example of an unarmed populace suffering at the hands of tyranny. Never forget that ‘their’ ultimate goal is to disarm us so it will be easier to control us. Gun control is people control.

  12. @LarryinTX
    “Say what? Lincoln was the first REPUBLICAN president, and he abolished slavery all by himself, without assistance from Congress or SC. Exactly HOW were the Repubs “trying to evade the Constitution regarding slavery”?”

    Ok, let’s take Lincoln abolishing slavery:
    He did no such thing. Freed not a single slave. Indeed, he left slavery alone in four slave states that remained in the union (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri). Lincoln had no legal authority to confiscate property in the States not in rebellion. Indeed, the “Emancipation Proclamation” specifically stated it applied only to “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, , shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free;..” Lincoln, putting down a rebellion, did have authority to confiscate property of those is rebellion.

    As to “evading the Constitution”, that was the point in contention. The Constitution, prior to the 13th Amendment, did not prohibit, prevent, outlaw slavery. The means for abolishing slavery in the entire union was the amendment process. Congress (Repubs aligned with abolitionists) were part of attempts at using simple Congressional legislation to prohibit, modify, limit, end slavery. All legislative attempts to curtail slavery were unconstitutional, as the Constitution provided no authority for Congress to create law disturbing slavery (Remember: in the time of Lincoln, the 14th Amendment did not exist; incorporating the federal constitution onto the states).

    The Congresses of the 1840-1860, like the Congresses of the 20th and 21st centuries, wanted to change the protections of the constitutionally protected rights/powers of the “States and the People” (gun control laws). Regarding slavery, and RTKBA, the federal government has no authority under the constitution to make laws contravening the Constitution…as if that matters any more.

    And no, we don’t get to argue that evading the Constitution in order to abolish slavery was justifiable, but evading the Constitution to regulate firearms is impermissible.

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