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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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Monday, August 19, 2019

Florida Alert! "Assault Weapons" Ban Amendment Bans ALL SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS

The so-called "assault weapons" ban that is proposed for a constitutional amendment to be on the 2020 Election Ballot bans the possession of: “any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun CAPABLE of holding more than ten (10) rounds ...

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

There are some odd dynamics in international relations. Countries in which people are not free serve on the UN Human Rights Council. Political considerations guide every action.  Of course, the NRA is a single-issue organization so ...

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

News  

Friday, August 2, 2019

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

NRA member Darrell Kennedy was on vacation with his family at Yellowstone National Park earlier this month when an anti-gun vacationer snapped a photo of his holstered firearm and tweeted out a hate message. “Sat ...

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

Joe Biden has been out on the primary campaign trail working hard. Maybe a little too hard. “We got to let them know who we are,” he recently told a crowd of supporters at the Iowa State ...

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

The Christian Science Monitor describes itself as “an independent international news organization” that wants to “help you to see news events as starting points for constructive conversations.” Its editorial board recently published an article, A seed for society’s ...

Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

A smart person learns from his mistakes. An even smarter person learns from the mistakes of others.  Beto O’Rourke, an unemployed Texan running for president, must not be too smart.           

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

Bill and Hillary Clinton just don’t draw like they used to. Shunned by much of his own party, (described by one Vanity Fair commentator as “2020’s bubonic plague”) the former president has been relegated to providing lazy ...

Governor Abbott Signs Ten Pro-Second Amendment Bills into Law

Monday, June 17, 2019

Governor Abbott Signs Ten Pro-Second Amendment Bills into Law

Governor Greg Abbott has now signed all of the NRA-supported legislation which the Texas Legislature sent him during the 2019 session.

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

In the wake of the recent two criminal mass attacks, a number of gun control proposals have begun to circulate in our nation’s capital. None of these proposals would have prevented the recent tragedies, but they all ...

California: Appropriations Committees Send Bills to the Suspense File

Thursday, August 15, 2019

California: Appropriations Committees Send Bills to the Suspense File

On Monday, August 12, the Senate Appropriations Committee sent AB 1254 to the suspense file and rescheduled AB 1669 to be heard next Monday, August 19. On Wednesday, August 14, the Assembly Appropriations Committee sent SB 172 ...

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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.