Pro-gun docs say AMA has it wrong on gun control

Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership said this week many physicians support the Second Amendment — despite what the American Medical Association recommends.

Dr. Robert Young, a practicing psychiatrist and editor for DRGO, told Wednesday the AMA’s recent call for more gun control on Capitol Hill isn’t surprising, even if it’s misguided.

“Jumping aboard progressive bandwagons is the main tactic left to the AMA to wield influence, since it now includes no more than 25 percent of America’s physicians as members, even though it claims to represent us all,” he said. “It’s leadership has left most physicians behind by focusing on politics more than medicine and undercutting physician autonomy by supporting Obamacare.”

Dr. David O. Barbe, AMA president, told members Tuesday the association “must not back down from addressing gun violence” — the same way it combated stigmatized beliefs surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic, opposed the tobacco industry and promoted universal vaccinations.

“On the contrary, we must address it head on . . . scientifically, in an evidence-based, principled fashion, and with the health and safety of our communities, our fellow Americans, and our children as our chief concern,” he said.

Except, Young argues, there’s noting science-based about outlawing “assault-type” rifles and high-capacity magazines or banning gun and ammo sales to anyone under 21.

“Something like .002 percent of all gun owners are involved in crime,” he said. “The overwhelming vast majority are law-abiding. These young people are no exception to that rule.”

The AMA also recommended expanding domestic violence restraining orders to include dating partners, advocating for schools as gun-free zones, supporting gun buy-back programs, opposing concealed carry reciprocity and seizing guns from high-risk individuals.

Young described the latter — often called red flag laws — as the “most reasonable” of the AMA’s policy recommendations, but cautions existing provisions “are incomplete and don’t ensure due process.”

“It’s got nothing to do with whether it’s needed,” he said. “But you need to address all sorts of weapons then, not just firearms.”

Young further criticized AMA for likening gun-related deaths to high-profile public health crises stemming from the HIV/AIDS epidemic, noting the simple act of touching a firearm won’t cause harm in the way contracting a viral illness will. Eliminating civilian access to guns won’t eliminate suicides, either, Young said, insisting physicians should look deeper into the patients’ motivations for ending their lives rather than focusing on the chosen method.

The Centers for Disease Control reports nearly 45,000 Americans committed suicide in 2016. Approximately half of those cases died from gun-related injuries.

“Legislating morality has always been impossible in a diverse polity like the United States,” Young said. “They’ll have no more luck with this than the abortion, capital punishment or immigration battles have had in uniting American opinion about them.”

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