Clinging to the notion that so-called “gun violence” is a public health issue, the American Medical Association this week adopted what CNN called “a series of sweeping policies aimed at preventing gun violence” but a couple of their positions might suggest to rights activists that the medical group is opposed to self-defense against violent attack.
At their meeting in Chicago, the AMA announced a “wish list” that included the following:
• Opposing the arming of teachers in schools and keeping schools gun-free zones.
• Opposing federal laws that allow “concealed carry” permits to cross state lines.
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Late last year, the House passed the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which is now gathering dust in the Senate where Republicans do not seem too eager to vote on the measure, despite support from gun owners whose votes gave them the Capitol Hill majority.
Additional agenda items include mandatory safety training and registration of all firearms, a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines, and raising the age limit to purchase guns and ammunition to 21.
But not everyone in the medical community will be in agreement. There is another organization called Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, which just might become a thorn in the AMA’s side. DRGO is a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.
Among the things found at the DRGO website is advice on what gun owners should tell their doctors if the subject of guns in the home comes up during an office visit. The group also supports legalization of suppressors (“silencers”) to protect the hearing of shooters.
“The group also modified policies that evaluated the role of guns in suicide,” CNN reported. Of the almost 176,000 gun-related deaths between 2012 to 2016, 62% of them were suicides, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Suicide prevention is a subject about which a one national gun rights advocate has taken a leadership role in the Pacific Northwest. Three years ago, Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, began working with suicide prevention experts at the University of Washington.
However, instead of calling for restrictions on gun owners, a pilot program approved by the Washington State Legislature gets gun owners, retailers and firearms instructors involved in the process. Still in its early stages, the effort has produced an instruction video for retailers and their employees about how to spot possible suicidal customers.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of schools are allowing or at least considering armed teachers and/or administrators. Other schools have armed police “resource officers” on campus.
While the AMA’s agenda is really nothing new, it is a reminder that the rights of gun owners are being attacked on several fronts, including the doctor’s office.