A popular tactic these days among advocates of forcible citizen disarmament is to frame the debate about gun rights vs. citizen disarmament as a "public health" issue. In other words, we are to ignore the fact that the Constitution guarantees a fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, and instead try to determine whether or not forcibly disarming the citizenry will save lives. From that determination, we are to set public policy--the Constitution be damned, apparently. Shockingly (ha!), proponents of this approach tend overwhelmingly to conclude that disarming the citizenry is just what the doctor ordered.
The New England Journal of Medicine has been particularly vociferous in the "Doctors for Defenselessness" movement--a few examples being here, here, and here. That last editorial, by the way, bases much of its argument on a study that has since been soundly debunked.
To be honest, I've never been one to take much interest in the statistical analysis of whether draconian gun laws would save more lives than they would cost, or not. I believe such quibbling to be irrelevant in a discussion about fundamental rights. I believe, in other words, that one's right to defend oneself with deadly force is utterly independent of, and handily trumps, any question of whether or not the "greater good" is served by depriving the individual of that right (see Jeff Snyder's seminal Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control, specifically the "Utility, Destroyer of Rights" chapter; I think there's also an Ayn Rand quote that would be particularly relevant here, but I can't find it at the moment).
Anyway, all of this is background information--what I want to discuss is the overwhelming rejection, in a poll conducted by MedPage Today, of the notion that gun regulation is a public health issue.
When the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine decried the recent Supreme Court decision overturning the District of Columbia's handgun law, they did so claiming the issue is a matter of public health. Now doctors in the trenches have weighed in with their own views.I guess the Enemy's attempt to use the medical community to further the citizen disarmament agenda isn't working quite as well as I'd feared.
The responses from physicians who are registered members of the site was remarkbly evenly divided. Just over half (52%) said Yes, that gun control is a public health issue.
But for readers as a whole, it was another story -- with 83% of the 2,023 respondents saying No. And as a further measure of interest in gun control, there were 36 comments posted with the poll. Some posters weighed in more than once to further the conversation.