Gun groups express doubts over "public health" approach

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

Coming out of the pandemic, there was a lot to criticize about the government’s approach. As time has marched on, however, we’ve found even more. Basically, the feds screwed up by the numbers, doing pretty much everything wrong, even as they were being told so.

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So when they start talking about “public health” in relation to guns, we’ve got reasons to be more than a little concerned.

Yet that’s an approach more and more people are starting to think about.

While some aspects don’t sound horrible, as noted earlier this week, there’s still reason to be concerned, and a lot of gun rights groups are expressing those concerns.

Gun rights activists are projecting confidence in response to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leader saying she is receptive to the Biden administration’s call to frame gun violence as a public health matter.

“The American public at this juncture isn’t willing to give up more of their freedoms and their rights and their privileges to the government under the guise of health,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told the Washington Examiner.

That’s the quote, folks. What Gottlieb said is the big takeaway. If you retain nothing else, that’s the quote I want you to hold onto.

But, since I’m contractually obligated to write more than “THIS,” I’m going to continue on.

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CDC Director Mandy Cohen, who took over for Rochelle Walensky in July, said in a recent interview with NPR that there is much the CDC can already do to act on the matter of gun violence from a public health perspective.

“I think there’s a lot of creative work going on around the country. We need to lift up best practices of gun safety,” Cohen said. “Just like we make cars safer with seat belts, there are ways for us to make guns safer. We don’t want to see children lose their lives needlessly because of guns.”

I absolutely hate this line of argument.

Cars killed because of accidents. People lost control or weren’t paying attention and slammed into things like trees or even other cars. Increasing safety in those vehicles made sense because these weren’t intentional acts.

Guns, however, aren’t just blowing up on people. They’re not failing to protect their owners due to manufacturing issues or poor design.

People who die from gunfire generally do so because of an intentional act. Sure, there are occasional accidents, but they’re rare, all things considered. The overwhelming majority of so-called gun deaths are because someone decided to use a firearm to take someone else’s life.

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So this public health approach to guns being justified because of what happened with cars is idiotic. It’s an apples-to-oranges comparison and anyone who thinks about it for half a second should be able to see that’s the case.

Couple this with the fact that these are essentially the same people who botched COVID so spectacularly and there’s more than enough reason for all of us to be wary of using “public health” to attack guns.

A better approach would be a public health approach to crime itself, using the resources available to the CDC to better understand criminal behavior and what drives people to do such things, then developing a line of attack at short-circuiting that process.

But, considering COVID again, they’d probably screw it up.

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