Last week on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we spoke to a trauma surgeon in Nebraska who helped author a study debunking the gun control myth that more guns equals more crime; a piece that was published in the Journal of Surgical Research. On today’s program Dr. Robert Young with Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership sits down with me to discuss the state of gun-related research in the medical community, including the latest gun control-centric edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
While Young and his colleagues at DRGO aren’t alone in the healthcare field in pushing back against the notion that gun control and a public health approach to combatting “gun violence” go hand in hand, there’s no doubt that the medical establishment is firmly wedded to that misguided idea. JAMA isn’t the only medical journal currently advocating for more gun laws. The latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine also includes an editorial bemoaning the “harms to come” from the Supreme Court’s decision in NYSPRA v. Bruen striking down New York’s “may issue” concealed carry laws.
In striking down the law, the Court paid no attention to escalating gun homicides — which have reached rates this country has not seen in decades — or to the fact that the law was New York’s attempt to balance protection of Second Amendment rights with public safety. Although the Court could have ruled that the law was being enforced too strictly, it instead invalidated the law entirely, on the basis of its radically expanded interpretation of the Second Amendment, while giving no weight to the state’s interest in reducing the number of firearms in the public sphere. Ultimately, all that mattered was the right of “law-abiding citizens” — an ambiguous term not further defined — to decide they wanted to carry a gun to protect themselves.
There’s so much wrong in just one paragraph it’s ridiculous. First, as much as I would have appreciated the Supreme Court declaring that law abiding citizens can bear arms in self-defense as long as they choose to do so, that’s not even close to what the Court actually said. The Bruen decision is an important one, but it still leaves the door open to further abuse of the Second Amendment rights of those pesky law-abiding citizens in any number of ways. In fact, Dr. Young himself is now a victim of New York’s new carry restrictions; telling Bearing Arms that he’s no longer legally able to bring his gun along on his ride to work because, thanks to the state’s expansive number of “sensitive places” where firearms are banned, he can no longer lawfully keep it in his car while it’s parked on a private lot. That means that the doctor is also disarmed as he visits some not-so-great neighborhoods in Rochester, New York to help drug addicts fight their addictions.
The Court also didn’t “radically expand” the Second Amendment; it simply decided that the right to bear arms is just as important (and as much of a right) as the ability to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. Unfortunately, as Young details on today’s show, this kind of anti-gun twaddle is far more common in the medical literature than any studies or opinion pieces that treat gun ownership as the right that it is.
That, in turn, leads to some odd disparities between public health efforts to treat, say, drug addiction versus “gun violence.” When it comes to drugs, a public health approach typically entails harm reduction; increasing the availability of Narcans to revive overdose victims, for example, or even needle exchanges or safe injection sites. When it comes to guns, however, a “public health approach” seems to be synonymous with an abstinence-centered focus on preventing gun ownership itself, with little-to-no room for education and training and outright hostility towards the exercise of a constitutionally-protected right.
DRGO is doing its best to change that dynamic, and I would encourage all gun owners and Second Amendment advocates to check out the group’s website at DRGO.us. Dr. Young tells me that they’ll have a couple of new pieces going up this week, including a response to the special gun control edition of JAMA as well as a closer look at Young’s own address to last weekend’s Gun Rights Policy Conference where he discussed the relevance of mental illness to suicide and violent crime. The group even has a portal to help gun owners find physicians who are Second Amendment-friendly in case your own doctor starts spouting off anti-gun talking points at your next checkup. Thankfully I’ve never had to avail myself of that database but I’m glad it’s around, and it’s a valuable resource for us given the hostility towards the Second Amendment from so many in the healthcare industry.