WHELAN: These Facts Correct: Guns Are Killing Us

LETTER from MARY ANNE WHELAN, MD

These Facts Correct:

Guns Are Killing Us

To the Editor:

In his most recent letters to the editor on the subject of gun regulation, Mr. Brockway seems to have the shoe on the wrong foot when it comes to factual statements, a particularly bad error for a blacksmith.

In addition to his past claims that the Democratic presidential candidates all wanted to take your guns away, which he surely knew to be false – none of them had ever said any such thing – he has now decided that Kirsten Gillibrand wants to put you in jail for not surrendering them. Oh please.

And with regard to the consequences of the Australian gun buy-back program, the statement that there was a 400 percent increase in gun violence as a consequence was long ago flagged by Facebook as false information. In fact there has been a decrease in gun-related shootings and crimes of violence since the measures taken in Australia.

Here are some facts for him, and if he disagrees with them he can argue with the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine and Pediatrics, which is the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

From Pediatrics, 2019: STATE GUN LAWS AND PEDIATRIC FIREARM-RELATED MORTALITY: “States with laws requiring universal background
checks for firearms purchase in effect for equal to or more than five years had lower pediatric mortality rates.”

From Pediatrics, 2017: “The shooter playing with a gun was the most common circumstance surrounding unintentional firearm deaths of both older and younger children.”

From the New England Journal of Medicine, 2018: Fifteen per cent of all deaths in children and adolescents were firearm related. Of all firearm deaths at all ages, 26 percent occurred among children and adolescents.

In March and April of 2020, gun sales soared, a typical American response to feeling threatened, this time by a virus – perhaps people thought they could shoot it – and pediatric deaths from unintentional shootings by children increased by 45 percent compared to the rates in the preceding three years, as more guns became domestically available.

These facts add up to an appalling number of firearm related deaths, many of which could be prevented by banning assault weapons, reducing permissible magazine loads, and requiring safe storage and documentable ownership.

Screening out mentally unstable persons from access to ownership is also entirely appropriate, and in fact has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The Second Amendment was never meant to confer any right to indiscriminate ownership or use.

Mr. Brockway for some reason refers to deaths occurring in urban “war zones” as being “questionable”. What in the world does that mean?

And what is the relevance of opioid-related deaths, DWI deaths, or the Twin Towers? I’m glad not to be blamed (as a physician) for contributing to the opioid epidemic, but I would never take legislation intended to prevent over-prescribing personally.

The fact remains that firearm related deaths can be reduced by sensible legislation; that sanctuaries are for people, not inanimate objects, and that the courts of New York have held that nothing in the SAFE Act is in conflict with the Second Amendment.

It does not impede target practice or traditional hunting. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is. If you don’t like it you could try to overturn it by legal means – Adrian Kuzminski, in a recent piece in this paper, offers the model of appeals to the principle of “Home Rule” – but as a state law it does surely confer an obligation for enforcement, both on the part of county board members and the police, as it stands.

And you don’t need assault weapons – which were not even conceived of by the framers of the Second Amendment – to hunt, target shoot, or protect yourself in your own home. It’s fine that Mr. Brashear and his friends and family wouldn’t want to be around people who don’t respect their firearms, but it should also be a legal obligation to register them, keep them safely away from children and adolescents, and take full responsibility for their use and transfer, which obviously isn’t happening now. What are the objections to that?

MARY ANNE WHELAN, MD
Cooperstown


8 thoughts on “WHELAN: These Facts Correct: Guns Are Killing Us

  1. Rich

    “Assault Weapon” ??? What is that?? Oh, that’s right….It’s a made up term for semi-automatic rifles that look evil.

  2. Barry Hirsh

    The sources you cite are politically left-leaning, and their “facts” are not to be trusted.

    And, the very title of your letter is reductio ad absurdum. Guns are inanimate objects; criminals are killing us.

    When we witness leftist ‘protests’ attacking people and property followed by the refusal of authorities to follow through with prosecutions, your irrationally biased arguments ring hollow.

  3. jack burton

    Guns owners are disrespectful of authority. A failure to rely on authorities is an invariable sign of improper and overly independent attitudes. The mere fact that they gather together to talk about guns at gun shops, gun shows, shooting ranges, and on the internet means that they have some plot going against us normal people. A gun owner has no right to associate with another gun owner.

    Therefore, to help ensure our right to happiness and safety we must ban and seize all guns from private hands, and forbid NRA-based criticism towards people who are only trying to help. Searching the homes of all NRA members for any guns and pro-gun literature will go a long way towards reducing crime.

    Common sense requires only uniformed soldiers, police, and other agents of the state have access to firearms, and think of all the money we can save by just taking away the guns from private owners and giving them to the military and police. No person should be able to challenge this by writing to Congress or the President. If they do they should be forced in court to admit to it and then fined a hundred million dollars for each time. Subjecting them to torture will probably change their minds.

    Making it mandatory that church ministers preach against guns or else they can’t get licensed will certainly encourage the church folk to have the correct belief about guns.

    We should hold a nation-wide vote against guns but gun-owners cannot be allowed to participate. They are too biased.

    People who don’t like all this prove they are on the side of the killers with the guns and should be put in jail along side all the gangbangers and other gun nuts. Letting them sit in jail for a few years before they are charged will give the government plenty of time to find something wrong in their lives. Anything they say, write, or express should be held against them to prove their guilt.

    We should bring all of them here to Chicago to be tried by Mayor Rahmfather as judge, and we should allow only mothers who have lost children to gunfire to be on the juries. Any attorney who tries to defend them should be arrested also. If we don’t get the right verdict the first time we can just keep trying them until we do.

    No woman needs to protect herself from rape, assault or murder and should just leave crime prevention to the Police who are properly equipped to investigate following the crime’s completion. Women using a gun in self-defense interferes with and makes the attempted crime a “non-event,” which unnecessarily complicates the Police investigation. Any woman who does this should be put in jail for interfering with an investigation.

    If someone still really, really thinks they have a need for a gun in their home for protection then the Army should just force them to host and feed some armed soldiers.

    Those who claim that the 2nd amendment was given to us because we might someday need guns to use against an oppressive government forget that our Constitution has strong internal safeguards to protect our freedoms. So there!

    Long live our Constitution!

  4. Michael Schwartzman, MD

    The use of disinformation (aka lying) has become a standard technique for those on the farther right side of the political spectrum to create hysteria and raise alarm bells among their brethren. To my dismay, using logic or factual arguments does not sway those who use “alternate facts” to support their views. Increasingly a portion of our citizens are supportive of what can only be termed propaganda. We are seeing the ill effects on community health as a result of negligence on the part of elected representatives who garner support from this part of the electorate, particularly with respect to COVID. The law which prevented any NIH funding from being used for research on guns and health is an example of the insanity that gun rights extremists and their industry have brought about.

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