You may be thinking that the NRA should have no interest in who our next Surgeon General might be, and you would be absolutely right. But they’ve weighed in against Dr. Vivek Murthy simply because he thinks that common sense gun safety measures are, well, common sense.
“Dr. Murthy’s record of political activism in support of radical gun control measures raises significant concerns about his ability to objectively examine issues pertinent to America’s 100 million firearm owners and the likelihood that he would use the office of the Surgeon General to further his preexisting campaign against gun ownership,” wrote Chris Cox director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) in a letter to Harry Reid, demanding that Murthy not be confirmed.
The problem with Cox’s objection is that it is not based in fact; there is no evidence that Dr. Murthy has ever campaigned against gun owneership.
That means nothing to Rand Paul (R-KY) of course, he has to keep those NRA dollars rolling in and he has blocked the nomination citing the same concerns, he wrote his own letter to Reid saying, “In his efforts to curtail Second Amendment rights, Dr. Murthy has continually referred to guns as a public health issue on par with heart disease and has diminished the role of mental health in gun violence.”
What the NRA argument seems to boil down to is that Dr. Murthy is politically active founding the organization Doctors for America which lobbied for passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and that he is in agreement with the AMA that guns are a health concern in this country.
The sin that Dr. Murthy is guilty of, as are the AMA, is saying that people with depression should be asked by their doctor if guns are present in the home, as should families with children and others whose medical history contraindicates gun ownership. This according to the NRA is a blatant attempt to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.
The reasoning used by Cox and the rest of the NRA is curious, since inquiries about guns in the possession of mental health patients is not that controversial an issue among doctors.
According to the CDC, the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year old youths in the country is homicide and the third leading cause of death for those in the 25-34 year old range and guns account for 68% of all homicides.
The American Association of Pediatricians (AAP) has long held that all guns and ammunition be completely removed from a home where a child suffering from depression resides.
Of course it has been painfully obvious that the NRA does not want any of this information to be available to the public. They have lobbied to end funding for any study of the effects of gun violence and the number of deaths and injuries resulting from that violence.
Interestingly, it is not, as the NRA and conservatives such as Senator Paul would have us believe, a radical left idea that guns are a health concern. Former Surgeon General and Reagan appointee, C. Everett Koop is on the side of the AMA, APP and Dr. Murthy. He wrote an editorial for the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1992 arguing that gun violence is indeed a serious health problem in the U.S. and that it should be addressed as such under the title “Time to Bite the Bullet Back.”
h/t: Think Progress