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A Public Health Crisis Driven by Politics

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Public Health Crisis Driven by Politics

Deeming “gun violence” a “public health crisis” has become commonplace in the efforts to curtail the rights of law-abiding Americans. Comparisons are made to cigarettes and cars, both of which were the focus of public health campaigns. Dr. Daniel Blumenthal wrote in an op-ed that “A public health approach has been used in addressing other causes of death and injury and has not required that the causative instrument outlawed or confiscated.”

The difference between gun violence and fatalities related to motor vehicle accidents or smoking is intent. Traffic accidents are just that – accidents. Developing safer vehicles reduces the number of fatalities, but the safest vehicle possible could still be used to intentionally harm occupants or pedestrians if the driver so chooses. The link between smoking and potentially life-threatening diseases is known but related fatalities are not classified as intentional self-harm. Combining homicides and suicides may generate a more dramatic talking point but does no service to reducing either.

Research on both car accidents and smoking has a clear goal. As Dr. Blumenthal noted, public health approaches to reduce motor vehicle fatalities and smoking-related disease focused on the causative instrument. Motor vehicle fatalities can result from trauma, which seat belts and air bags address. Diseases related to smoking are caused by the chemicals in tobacco products; educational campaigns warn people of the dangers to which they expose themselves when they smoke.

Too often, however, public health research on firearms does not focus on the causative factors that lead to violence, but on policies that would only impact law abiding gun owners. Public health campaigners do not want to warn people of the dangers of being the victim of a felony in progress (25% of all murders for which the circumstances were known and reported to the FBI in 2016), of gang killings (10%), of alcohol- or drug-fueled brawls (3%), of being involved in an argument over money or property (2%) or other arguments (36%), or of being involved in a romantic triangle (1%). Instead, they want to deter people from owning firearms or convince lawmakers to enact ever more restrictions on gun ownership. Many of these researchers design studies to reinforce their own anti-gun opinions, but anti-gun politicians and organizations will happily sacrifice methodologically sound research in the pursuit of better talking points.

There are efforts underway to reduce homicides and violent crime by targeting the cause instead of an object. Efforts like these, that focus on addressing the impetus for crime, have been effective all over the country.  Criminals will find a way even in the face of restrictive laws, so perhaps the public health approach should focus on the causative instrument – the motivation behind assaults, homicides, and self-harm.

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Turning a Right into a Privilege: HR 1112 Gives Feds Unfettered Power to Block Gun Sales

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Turning a Right into a Privilege: HR 1112 Gives Feds Unfettered Power to Block Gun Sales

H.R. 8, which would criminalize the private transfer of firearms, has received significant attention from the gun rights community. However, H.R. 1112, which purportedly targets the inappropriately-named “Charleston loophole,” is just as insidious an attack ...

Washington: Hearing for Bill to Expand Gun Seizures Without Due Process

Monday, February 18, 2019

Washington: Hearing for Bill to Expand Gun Seizures Without Due Process

On February 19th, the Washington state Senate Committee on Law & Justice will be holding an executive session on Senate Bill 5745 to expand the circumstances under which Second Amendment rights may be revoked without ...

H.R. 8 Markup: Liberal Democrats Markup Gun Control Legislation

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

H.R. 8 Markup: Liberal Democrats Markup Gun Control Legislation

The Nancy Pelosi Speaker Era 2.0 continued on Wednesday, Feb. 13, with a markup of H.R 8, the “universal” background checks bill, in the House Judiciary Committee. Following on the heels of last week’s Judiciary Committee hearing, the same committee held a markup on ...

Another Study Blames Guns, Excludes Reality

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Another Study Blames Guns, Excludes Reality

A study published in Preventative Medicine by Yu Lu and Jeff R. Temple concludes that “the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. Instead, access to firearms was the primary culprit.”

Texas: Setting the Record Straight On "Red Flag" Legislation

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Texas: Setting the Record Straight On "Red Flag" Legislation

Over the holiday weekend, a conservative "taxpayer watchdog" group sent out an email to its contact list which gave the impression that NRA-ILA supports "red flag" legislation in Texas.  One wonders what the organization hoped to accomplish by confusing and attempting to divide ...

Polls: No Lasting Support for Gun Control One Year After Parkland

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Polls: No Lasting Support for Gun Control One Year After Parkland

Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the terrible crimes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. It was a somber occasion, but some media outlets couldn’t contain their glee this week that ...

Maryland: 2019 Legislative Session Begins with a Slew of Anti-Gun Bills Introduced

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Maryland: 2019 Legislative Session Begins with a Slew of Anti-Gun Bills Introduced

With the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session underway, gun control groups have made the General Assembly a target for their anti-gun agenda. 

California: City of Los Angeles Discriminates Against NRA Supporters

Friday, February 15, 2019

California: City of Los Angeles Discriminates Against NRA Supporters

This week, the City Council Members of Los Angeles showed their extreme distain of the Second Amendment, the NRA and our supporters.  On February 12, the City Council held the first reading of a proposed ordinance that ...

Colorado: House Committee to Consider “Red Flag” Legislation This Week

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Colorado: House Committee to Consider “Red Flag” Legislation This Week

On Thursday, ​at 1:30pm in the Old State Library, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider anti-gun legislation, House Bill 1177.

Ohio: Legislative Fix Introduced to Correct Drafting Error

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Ohio: Legislative Fix Introduced to Correct Drafting Error

The Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee could soon consider Senate Bill 53. 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.