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Doctors asked to participate in gun debate
December 31st, 2012
05:03 PM ET

Doctors asked to participate in gun debate

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14 has compelled the editors of the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine to call on other physicians to become active participants in the discussion about gun violence and gun policy in this country.

More than 30,000 people die from gun injuries each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gun injuries account for nearly 1 in 5 injury deaths in the United States.  More than 96% of those deaths are due to suicide and homicide.

In an editorial published in Annals, a publication of the American College of Physicians (ACP), on Monday, Dr. Christine Laine, editor-in-chief of the journal and a general internist, calls on physicians to use their voices in this gun control debate, just as doctors have done regarding other issues that threaten public health, such as smoking, air pollution, drunk driving and vaccinations.

Laine points out that the American College of Physicians, which is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States, identified gun violence as a public health issue back in 1998, but says the subsequent response from fellow physicians - whose mission it is to prevent, detect and treat illness in adults - is "lackluster" when it comes to their involvement in preventing gun injuries.

The editorial points out that only one professional medical organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, has established a policy to reduce gun access and injuries in children, by recommending that pediatricians counsel parents of children as young as 6 months old.  Last year, a federal judge overturned a Florida lawthat would have prevented pediatricians from doing just that.

"We're going to have to tackle policies that prohibit discussions with patients about guns," says Laine.  She also says more research is needed to help doctors shape policies on this contentious topic.

“It is almost impossible today to get federal funding for firearm injury prevention research," says Dr. Arthur Kellermann in a December 19 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Kellermann, now with the Rand Corporation, treated (among others) gunshot victims during his 25-year career practicing and teaching emergency medicine, most recently in Atlanta.  He's referring to how federal funding for gun studies dried up because "the (National Rifle Association) strategy of shutting down the pipeline of science was effective.”

The NRA did not respond to a CNN request for comment on the federal funding issue Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control funds a lot of grass-roots research, but in the 1990s the agency's budget for studying gun violence was cut. In 2003, the director of the CDC's Injury Center at the time, Dr. Sue Binder, told reporters:  "We are prohibited from using any of our funds to advocate or promote gun control."   At the time she was discussing a new study that looked at 51 existing studies about the efficacy of existing gun laws and couldn't draw any conclusions, as researchers said the data was unreliable and the analyses were inappropriate and inconsistent.

Laine says the lack of funding has created a vacuum when it comes to preventing gun violence.

Which is why the editors of Annals are also calling for more studies on how to identify people at risk for violence, which mental health conditions play a role and under which circumstances.  This could then help shape future policies on reducing gun violence (something that can't be done in time for the proposals sought by President Barack Obama from his task force due at the end of January).

"We're in place where nobody wants people with uncontrolled seizures operating cars or school buses," Laine writes. "Why have someone with uncontrolled psychosis own a firearm?"

Physicians, she says, should resolve "to raise our voices on the matter of guns" in 2013.


soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. JC

    Tobacco still kills something like 50x as many people as guns do every year. 500k

    January 2, 2013 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tn_newfie

      The problem is that the taxes made from cigarettes are too much to lose. Sad, all we know about cigarettes and still sell it.

      January 2, 2013 at 10:18 | Report abuse |
    • exlonghorn

      @TN_newfie

      I think you meant to say "Sad all we know about tobacco and we still BUY it."

      I'm still curious why we haven't included tobacco products in the same list as cocaine and heroin. Like those two illegal drugs, tobacco has absolutely zero redeeming societal or health benefits. All it does is create health problems, poor air, higher insurance and medical costs, secondhand smoke issues, unsightly public areas, and death. Of course the answer is the tobacco lobby, and the states that grow it or get revenue from it.

      January 2, 2013 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
    • Btru

      Alcohol and tobacco do kill a ton of people, but (with the exception of second hand smoke, and DIU) theses vices usually only kill the users. As prohibition has shown, banning these substances (which any can make) actually increases the risk as people will consume tainted products, and/or abuse said product as well as create a black market for them. 99.9999% of guns are made by manufacturers. Gun control would eventually curtail the abundence of guns our society. I have not heard of any underground gun manufacturing (modifying existing fire arms yes, but not the production of). But what concerns me is that the NRA has pointed at mental health as the place that needs improvement, yet they are the same people who are stopping the funding for CDC to look into it? Sounds like they are scared what the doctors will find.

      January 2, 2013 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • memyselfundI

      the thing about tobacco is that it actually saves tons of money since smokers live long enough to work, but are more likely to die early and use less SS and medicaire. Fat people, however, are less productive and take a longer time to die with tons of long term expensive health problems like diabetes. Fat people suck the system dry

      January 2, 2013 at 22:02 | Report abuse |
    • Rustoleum

      Each year more Americans die from the effects of TOBACCO than from alcohol, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, AIDS, suicides, murders, fires, drownings, airplane crashes, car crashes and the death penalty COMBINED.
      A dear friend recently died of a tobacco related illness and we the public spent >$600,000 treating him. This doesn't include the expense of his supplement oxygen that was required for greater than ten years. The total expense is stolen from health care for our kids and our elderly.

      January 3, 2013 at 07:31 | Report abuse |
    • KR

      This idiotic argument has been there for ages. Tobacco kills people, and cars kill people and so on. Learn to discern the facts : Tobacco kills the user of tobacco and not anybody else. Guns kill the guy at the other end.

      As far as cars are concerned, they were designed to transport and not kill, and if they occasionally kill people during an accident, it is the driver's fault not the car's. Cars do plenty of good if used properly. With guns their main purpose is to kill. They don't do any good otherwise.

      January 3, 2013 at 22:30 | Report abuse |
  2. tdm

    I find it interesting that the medical world is being drawn into this debate, as the full scope of obamacare is surely a carefully crafted political move to intice a large community of high wage earners into a decidedly democractic party movement.

    Am I the only person to see the strategies involved here!

    CNN: where is the real journalism? or just another pulp rag that knows the its main political blanket is the current administration and the high wage earners who are less likely to be subject to the evil and violence that most of the rest of "real" people in middle class and especially the lower wage earners are subjected to each and every day.

    What I get out of this is political theater...and a class warfare with a goal to remove as much power from the majority of the population as possible. the end goal is to ensure the safety and the freedom of the rich and elite, at the expense of "the people".

    Please tell me, I am not the only person to read this correctly?

    I know I am not far from the truth in this matter.

    the reality is that "the people" are getting wise to what the elite and the government has been up to..the latest "outreach" to the medical world to solve gun control may have some traction, but it will become highjacked for power gain...as is the case, in almost all cases, where person liberty and freedom robbing usually ends.

    not going to happen this time!

    here is what IS going to happen...americans are not going to cave into any false threats and new controls over gun control..

    it will have an unintended consequence.

    anyone bother to read the news lately...high capacity, assault, semi-automatic, military-style weapons are being bought up by "new" gun owners at record pace!

    how is that for unintended consequences.

    this is what happens when government pretends to pressure people into forcing personal choices over basic rights!

    was it really any suprise?

    We remain, an continue to be, independent skeptical, freedom loving, skeptics of big brother!

    and thank god! (meaning precisely!)

    Oh, and the gun that is selling out the fastest? AR-15!

    Everytime Obama opens his mouth to tell "the people" what he has in mind, you can bet they will answer back with the vote that counts..

    money and investment in their freedom!

    That is the real vote that counts! truth!

    and if this damned congress and senate can't halt the insane spending ...we are going to see another nice feature of how americans vote...

    and that will be refusing to pay their taxes.

    anyone here care to read up on a little history about right to bear arms, and taxation without respresentation..tyranny...

    we are about to see history repeat itself.

    and frankly, as said as it was to see 20 innocent children killed at the hands of a mad man in CT, it will be much more serious when the vast majority of americans do finally realize that this government DOES NOT work for you..in fact, in practice...you work for the government, and you have no choice in the matter (at least that is what the elite WANT you to believe)

    so arms are important, as much as they are to install in the hands of well trained guards at every school to protect the lives of your children.

    think about this, it is relevant:

    children of the same age will bear the first and highest cost in terms of taxes and bailout inflation from tarp than any other generation of citizens.

    so, we have several choices:

    protect these kids, so they can actually live to pay it..
    protest and revolt against a corrupt goverments so the lives they have will be free of the burden of the corrupt goverment.

    we actually have a big misson to preserve.

    after all, didn't the entire debate here, spawn from the essense of where we place our highest priority:

    the lives of our children?

    the government is NOT concerned about your children...that is clear.

    the goverment is concerned with their own families and the elite they serve.

    america wake up and stop being the stupid slave to your master.

    this is NOT the design the founders and all of the women and men who fought for your freedom, spent their entire lives for.

    at least make the effort ..otherwise, leave, because you are highjacking a society that should be the finest example of humanity that ever was...

    and it still can be..

    but that takes sacrifice...and work!

    lets get to work!

    do you part...

    protest this goverment

    don't pay you taxes..vote all of your elected officials out..

    impeach obama for the fraud he has committed.

    if you take no action, it really doesn't matter gun control, abortion, children..

    the dreadful compromise would have no meaning.

    in the end, you ask any old person what they regret the most...and they all say the same thing:

    not money...not love..no more guns..not cancer..

    nope

    they all say something like this:

    "I regret that my life did not have more meaning!"

    think about that for a minute...

    if you aren't helping to build a better society by rejecting bad ideas, what IS THE MEANING OF YOUR LIFE?

    contemplate that!

    January 2, 2013 at 01:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BaltoPaul

      Next time, write a draft first.

      January 2, 2013 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
    • doc

      You are apparently very well informed; for the rest of "us physicians" we have historically been active in many social issues, as they are part of healthcare (For example sanitation, AIDs discrimination, etc) Violence needs our attention, too. No one is saying we are stomping on anyone's rights, just entering the discussion. I'd suggest we should be at teh table to discuss the epidemic of incarceration in the US, too....

      January 2, 2013 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • Delkath

      I agree with you there. Actually an article came out not long ago stating that the AR-15 was left in the truck and the murders were all commited with 4 hand guns. That is where you are exactely right. The gov doesnt give a crap about what happened here, they see an opportunity to jump on banning effective firearms from the public so, as you said, we are are easier to control. It is also a start on the ban of guns entirely. Start with the big ones and work your way down. They get their media giants to start all this hooplah about assault rifles, get all the uninformed hippies rallied, and start brainwashing the public by only showing arguments where they make gun activists look absurd, paranoid, extreme, and then show pictures and words of tradegy and tie in "AR-15" so your mushy brain associates the two together. Sad part is most people follow news and TV as their source of reality and don't read, research, think for themselves... They have radio and TV to do that for them. It formulates their opinions on America and the world. Glad to see it is not all of us though. Good job getting the word out.

      January 2, 2013 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
    • whatever

      Thank you, Ted Kaczynski. Didn't realize your cabin in the woods had internet service.

      January 2, 2013 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
    • FatSean

      Hippies have a long history of having guns pointed at them.

      Also, cry moar.

      January 2, 2013 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
    • G.

      That is some poor writing. Did you at least go to high school?

      January 3, 2013 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
  3. btguy

    id like to know where they got their statistics, they have to be leaving out a lot of injuries to get that 20% number since car accidents alone would make up all of the other 80% if they were included.

    January 2, 2013 at 02:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. rude

    A lot of these weapons are military grade weapons. Some with 100 round capacities. Such weapons do not deserve to be in the hands of civilians, especially psycho civilians who spew hate against the government.
    Secede, don't tread on me, we came unarmed THIS TIME, water the tree of liberty with blood....., These psychos are armed and threatening violenece.

    January 2, 2013 at 03:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • shawn L

      Most firearm deaths. 80% or higher, are from handguns, not "military grade weapons."

      January 2, 2013 at 05:26 | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Stop posting lies. There is NO SUCH THING as a 100 round magazine for any semi-automatic rifle available on the market today. They DON'T EXIST, so stop trying to scare people. You cannot buy a magazine for any of these rifles with a capacity higher than 30 rounds. I defy you to name ANY model semi-automatic rifle for which a 100 round magazine can be purchased. Either name one or shut up!!!

      January 2, 2013 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • juliemac

      You really need to stop and learn, then think. We DO NOT have access to military grade weapons. Stop spouting the carp you read up here and learn something before you type....

      January 2, 2013 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • exlonghorn

      Rick, you are incorrect. The Beta Company makes and sells them. They are available for any AR-15 variant. In addition there are other models and some of them, like the Beta for Glock pistols, are just flat out infantile.

      And the guns in question here are not "military grade". They are semiautomatic rifles...not even "assault rifles". Military weapons are select-fire including fully automatic. The difference between the two is about 600 rounds per minute in an AR.

      January 2, 2013 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
    • whatever

      Rick, dude, 80, 90, and 100 round drums are for sale all over the internet in a hand full of different calibers. Not to say that the original poster is right or wrong on their basic premise, but you should at least have some idea what you're talking about before you reply.

      January 2, 2013 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  5. shawn L

    Doctors recently in england have pushed for a ban on kitchen knives, since there have been so many stabbings with them. Guns are illegal to own there... funny how people find weapons when they want to use them isn't it? What's next, ban furniture with legs because they can be used as clubs?

    January 2, 2013 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      I would add the following to the list:
      shoelaces
      wooden #2 pencils
      BIC ink pens
      credit cards

      January 2, 2013 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  6. syzito

    Over 42000 Americans are killed in auto accidents yearly and more children are killed by swimming pools in back yards than by accidental discharge of a firearm. 4000 kids drown accidentally yearly and only 700 by accidental discharge of a firearm. So when are doctors going to ask their patients about owning a vehicle or a swimming pool?

    January 2, 2013 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      Also, STAIRCASES!
      Ban those stairsteps, especially the evil assault variety with more than 10 stairs.

      January 2, 2013 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
    • whatever

      opinions on gun control aside, we do routinely counsel our patients with children on swimming pool accident prevention, seat belt use, and appropriate care seats. It's part of the standard injury prevention counseling that includes gun safety.

      What makes talking about it a bad thing?

      January 2, 2013 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
  7. NoTags

    It seems that most anti gunners have their panties in a bunch because of rifles. I took the ten largest states by population (CA, TX, NY, FL, IL, PA, OH, GA, MI and NC) and compared homicides for 2011 in these states comparing rifles to knives or cutting instruments. Here are the facts.

    CA-45 by rifle 261 by knives or cutting instruments
    TX-37 by rifle 175 by knives or cutting instruments
    NY-5 by rifle 160 by knives or cutting instruments
    FL-Information not available
    IL (*)-1 by rifle 29 by knives or cutting instruments
    PA-8 by rifle 79 by knives or cutting instruments
    OH-8 by rifle 136 by knives or cutting instruments
    GA-16 by rifle 61 by knives or cutting instruments
    MI-29 by rifle 43 by knives or cutting instruments
    NC-26 by rifle 60 by knives or cutting instruments

    (*) Limited supplemental homicide data were received.

    These statistics clearly indicate that knives or other cutting instruments are much more likely to be used in a homicide than a rifle.

    res ipsa loquitur

    w w w dot fbi dot gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-20

    January 2, 2013 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Portland tony

      A little off the issue. ...As long as emotionally disturbed humans exist, the banning of rocks, knives, guns etc..will not stop homicides or killings. What most folks are talking about is making sure that weapons of war are kept out of the "crazys" hands. How this is done without infringing on individual's rights is the problem!

      January 2, 2013 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
    • nowthatyoumentionit

      ...
      the 'crazies' are part of the group who would push to be in control of whose lives get destroyed through doctorial prejudice, neglect, exploitation, and abuse based on their notions of mental health – which is only really based on whether or not 'they' succeed – and are number one – and have the gun power – to prove it. that is the way it really is – but no one is supposed to understand that – so they will continue to lead health non-care into the hell of illness for 'their' wellness – at all cost – especially to the patient and the people – cuz – their number one ... yeah!

      January 2, 2013 at 09:24 | Report abuse |
    • RealGlaird

      An interesting corollary fact that you didn't mention was the relative numbers of deaths due to Clorox and other household chemicals. And those who died were children no less. I don't have the exact numbers, but they are ~1000 per state or more. So, we are wasting valuable time, allowing detergents and cleaning agents to go unchecked into our society. We must ban all cleaning activities for the sake of our children. If one life is saved, it would be worth it.

      January 2, 2013 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • exlonghorn

      Your presented data points are interesting. There could easily be an argument that the largest gaps between rifles and knives or cutting instruments in states like CA, NY, OH, IL, etc., are due to stronger gun controls in those states. Second, you aren't adjusting for the differences in state populations. Somehow, I don't think that's the point you were trying to make...

      January 2, 2013 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • spreadsheet

      According to the site you quoted guns trump knifes 10 to 1

      The reason that they do not want the number crunched on gun control is

      Ref article

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/24/health/kids-guns-study/?hpt=he_c1

      “Overall, 6,920 youths were injured and cared for by these trauma centers between 2000 and 2008, according to the research. Of those, 129 had injuries from firearms, and those injuries were extremely serious compared with the others.
      Of the gun injuries, 50.4% required intensive care, compared with 19.3% for other trauma-related injuries. Some 13.2% died, compared with the 1.7% injured in another way. A total of 14% of the gunshot wounds were coded as "self-inflicted."

      So looking at the data and projecting it out across the nation it looks like it would be safe to say that 20% of gunshot victims die, so that means that 80% live, so if we know that there are 30,000 deaths a year that would yield 150,000 people being shot a year.

      The article goes on to say that 50% end up in intensive care.

      If an average stay in ICU is 24 hours and the cost is $1,000 per hour then we can estimate the ICU health care cost to be 24 X 75,000 x $1,000 = 1,800,000,000 ( 1.8 billion)

      That does not include the operations or legacy costs. Which could double that number Oh and yes this is per year

      April 24, 2013 at 18:25 | Report abuse |
  8. thoughts

    First the doctors should get interested in standing against the murderous prejudicial corrupt poison that is produced by the pharma and government system to endanger the lives of all citizens – and then blame it all on the patient and the guns – yeah right – look to see where this is coming from – the top universities whom benefit most from the research money poured into their coffers through the pharma industry. The medical society should do nothing else in protest or enforcement of anything when it comes to mental illness and anything until they address this very big issues(s) in a big way until they themselves are no longer quilty of their neglect and abuse by turning their heads to the subject and being rewarded financially and politically for it on a daily basis. Get real. look who is behind this – the same muderous pushers of prozac, etc.

    January 2, 2013 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Bruce MacMahon

    Will these doctors include in their observations and reports the tens of millions of gun owners and their children who are their patients, and who live healthy, safe lifestyles?

    No.

    They only want to talk about the small sliver of a fraction of one percent of privately owned firearms that are used recklessly and unlawfully. The goal is to use the deeds of the extremely minuscule minority to trample on the freedom of the majority.

    If it was all about saving lives, these same doctors would be calling for the restoration of antiquated anti-sodomy laws to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. They'll never do that, because they know it would not be reasonable or fiar to strip the many of their liberty based on the actions of the reckless few.

    January 2, 2013 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • theHyprocraticOathisDead

      gone are the days of health care for health care's sake
      now the docs are worried about their patients finding out what they've really been up to for the past few years in terms of the amount of damage they have done to their patients through their faulty medical practices based on a corrupt and all powerful pharma and bush and the almity dollar based system – that rewards illness producing 'cures' and health practices, policies, procedures, and politics, all based upon exploitation of anything that can be made to be exploited ...
      these are the overtones of what leads this country today ... for the all mighty dollar, for power, and for control
      fear mongering – they fear monger about everything – feed poison like candy – and then whine about guns – cuz the patients they abuse and exploit might get their hands on them. fear mongering by the docs for mental control – what hypocrates – there is no science to their reasoning – only fear mongering for their own benefit – more illness mongering for their coffers – more control politics for their narcissist need for more illusion of power – why? because they can

      January 2, 2013 at 09:51 | Report abuse |
  10. BaltoPaul

    It's about time. Doctors kill more people than guns do.

    January 2, 2013 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • exlonghorn

      And of course a doctors reply is that they save many more people than they kill. While the data is not exactly clear, a similar argument can be made for firearms.

      January 2, 2013 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  11. Doug

    It is amusing the slant that JOURNALISTS put in their work. So the CDC numbers, from their own report show Homicide as 15th in the top 15 items that caused death in 2009. Of the 30,000 Gun deaths cited by the author, according to the CDC report, 36.7% were homicides and 59.8% were suicides. Do we think those that committed suicide would not find another way if the gun weren't around??? The same report shows more people died from FALLS!!! Maybe we should just ban steps!

    January 2, 2013 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • exlonghorn

      Good points, but most people don't intentionally fall down stairs. We accept that accidents happen, but we try to prevent them (NHTSA, OSHA, CPSC, etc.) On the other hand, most firearm deaths are intentional, and often involve one party harming another.

      January 2, 2013 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
  12. NoTags

    Perhaps doctors should concentrate more on not mis-prescribing drugs. About 100,000 people each year in the U.S. die from mis-prescribed drugs. This is roughly equal to the crash of a large airliner every day of the year.

    h t t p://abcnews DOT go DOT com/Business/ransom-medical-records/story?id=17051612&page=2#.UOQlTKyVMhk

    January 2, 2013 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. sativa619

    The arguments many people make in favor of guns are silly.

    Know what? Keep your guns, and keep on shooting each other. 7 billion people on the planet, we can spare a few so you can say "I got my 2nd amendment".

    I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • exlonghorn

      You're welcome to move to Mexico, where nearly all firearms are illegal, but gun deaths are much more prevalent than in the U.S.

      In fact, you do realize that the U.S. ranks among the lowest third in terms of firearm homicide rates per capita? Between 3.5 and 3.7 per 100,000 people per year. That's lower than 2/3rds of the other countries on Earth.

      January 2, 2013 at 13:20 | Report abuse |
    • SeanC

      I think we would all be happier if you left the planet, sativa619.

      January 2, 2013 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
  14. Judith

    Gun violence is a public health issues and physicians should address it. Just think of the enormous cost in treating gunshot victims (most of whom are uninsured). Yet, this is seldom ever a topic for discussion and the gun culture supported by the NRA and conservatives never addresses it. I hope the families of Sandy Hook sue the Bushmaster manufacturer for millions and puts them out of business. The lost lives can never be regained, but the gun industry and the gun worshipers at the NRA should be held responsible.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nobody N. Particular

      No it is not a "public health issue"; unless you consider criminaity a public health issue. Also, it is not the fault of the manufacture of the weapon when someone STEALS it then USES it in a CRIME; which is the case in Sandy Hook. If his mother had survived and it could be proven that she did not properly stow the weapon you might be able to sue her; but that is it. It is the height of ignorance to place the blame of a criminal action on anyone other than the criminal, they made the choice to commit a crime. Please understand that the 2nd Amendment is not to protect the right to hunt, it was designed to protect the citizens from the government's attempted overreach of authority.

      January 2, 2013 at 13:49 | Report abuse |
    • SeanC

      You can't possibly be that stupid, Judith. Should we sue car manufacturers when a drunk drives someone off the road? Or how about pharmacutical companies when a doctor makes an error prescribing a drug? Or maybe Navtech when a person uses a map to find someones house and attacks them there? Judith, you are an idiot.

      January 2, 2013 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Clorox, autos, shovels, hoes, TV, etc...are manufactured with a specific use in mind. Certainly someone could be killed by misusing them. AR-15s are specifically designed to kill people. They make a poor home defense tool and unless you are interested in pureed game, they're
      not a good hunting rifle! So to own one means you want to kill people and are probably a little bent intelligence wise!

      January 2, 2013 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • Dazy88

      How about doctors address issues they SHOULD know something about.... the lack of mental healthcare in this country. There is more than one common denominator in these mass murders. They involve guns (most of the time) but they always involve someone with a previous history of mental illness. They know they are mentally ill, their families know they are mentally ill, but they clearly are not getting proper treatment. We can't force someone into treatment. Even if they want treatment, the insurance companies refuse in-patient care for cost savings. Doctors know that providing the right medication absolutely requires observation by the physician. If the doctor can't observe the patient, and the medication's effect on the patient, the only input they receive is the distorted perspective of the mentally ill patient. How can they give adequate feedback to the doctor? The inexperienced, uneducated family members are left alone to deal with the problem. This is the issue that medical doctors should be addressing, not gun control. For every mass murder in this country there are thousands of murder/suicides by people with mental illness. They see no hope for the future because there isn't any hope for someone so impaired to fight the system to get the help they need. The sad part is, it is treatable. It is preventable. It is the most humane thing to do. Yet we want to fight about gun control.

      January 3, 2013 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
    • AgreeWithDazy

      What Dazy describes is the way IT really IS in the world of mental non-health
      the families are left to take care of the mentally ill in the best way they can train themselves to do it in the amount of time they are / were given with the amount of knowledge they are made – or make themselves – aware of ...

      mental non-health is a corrupted society onto itself
      most mentally ill and their families suffer the victimization that occassionally makes itself known to the many – in silence – in pain – and in the best way they can ...
      that is the way it is

      January 4, 2013 at 08:28 | Report abuse |
  15. Nobody N. Particular

    The problem with this, is that the doctors are unware of whether the shooting was justified or if it was either reckless (accident) or criminal. To encourage doctors, who have no knowledge on what transpired to cause the injury to make a judgement on the usage of a weapon in not just irresponsible but dangerous to any liberty minded individuals. As a matter of fact, most of the recent shootings involved people who where "under" a doctors care, but still managed to get weapons and shoot people because to doctors didn't want to report the possible threat these people were to the local LEOs. So stop blaming the weapon and blame the doctors that won't report to LEOs, and the people who thought it was more important to save money than provide a safe and protective environment for our mentally challenged (disabled) instead of forcing families who have no training or experience, to deal with these individuals. My assault rifle is under lock and key anytime its not with me, so don't tell me I cannot own one because someone else was either too stupid or ignorant to be a responsible gun owner.

    January 2, 2013 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. jack

    Although it is true that about 30K are killed by guns each year, more than 100K are victims of shootings (Violence Policy Center stats). Without good doctors, that 30K would be a lot higher.

    January 2, 2013 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • exlonghorn

      Jack, I'm not disputing your particular set of data, but be VERY careful with using ANYTHING from the VPC. They are notorious about massaging or manipulating data and conclusions to fit their agenda.

      January 2, 2013 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
  17. Bojack

    Will the Doctors include the number of people killed by Doctors each year through medical screw ups.

    January 2, 2013 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ColoradoPhil

    Having doctors comment about the effects of guns in society is kind of like having the auto mechanic comment about the effects of legislating the overall gas efficiency of cars.

    Interesting that this article quotes Dr Kellermann. He is the poster child for biased research that puts an agenda ahead of any real research. The "43 times" research for which he is famous for is an extremely poor example of the type of study that might enlighten us as to possible solutions to our problem with violence in America.

    January 2, 2013 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ColoradoPhil

    "Laine says the lack of funding has created a vacuum when it comes to preventing gun violence."

    Why the focus on "preventing gun violence" why isn't it "preventing violence"???

    January 2, 2013 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Second Amendment Physician

    The issues are not gun control nor any degrading of the Bill of Rights. The issues are the inadequate dollars devoted to mental health issues in this country at both the Federal and State level. Other issues are how violence is portrayed in the media and entertainment. Equally important is gun safety education in my opinion this is where the NRA should focus part of its efforts as they continue to protect the Second Amendment. Violence will contain as it has been since the dawn of man whether one uses a club, knife, or bare hands.

    January 2, 2013 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Bob

    What do doctors know about firearms? Maybe plummers should write about heart surgery.

    January 2, 2013 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. TJ

    Oh yeah, just what we need, a bunch of doctors telling us that getting shot is bad for you. How about getting more doctors discussing the medication errors that kill tens of thousands per year? Or the over prescription of narcotics and SSRi's? Or the millions of unnecessary (and useless) angioplasties? Or the over utilization of medical imaging?

    There's lot's of bad stuff going on in medicine that's driven by good old fashioned greed, let's not get them involved, otherwise every gun owner will have to get a multiple thousand dollar EEG, fMRI, and MMPI performed before they can get permission to own a gun. Oh yeah, and to keep the money rolling in, they'll recommend you get it done every two years to keep your firearms....

    January 2, 2013 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Portland tony

      At least, most physicians are trying to save lives yet sometimes, being human, mistakes occur . Most gun owners who have guns for self protection essentially say. I'm gonna shoot and kill someone if they present a threat to me or what's mine! No mistakes involved. There's a difference!

      January 3, 2013 at 13:51 | Report abuse |
  23. Holly

    since this is happening right now, it's something to be considered: SanBernardino CA just went bankrupt, the crime, killings, looting has skyrocketed. the city officials asked it's citizens to lock their doors and arm themselves – the city could not be counted on to respond. Many many cities of CA are bankrupt. illegals make up more then half of the population – illegals have set up corrupt network to drain the system (or citizens) – and bring their cartel crime to US. right now our President warns on a daily basis America is on a fiscal cliff. And of course the US has trillions of debt. AND illegals are overtaking OR, WA, MI, IL, on on on. I would not count on any government protecting your family if what is happening in CA happens in your home town. they won't.
    American's can take action to stop some of the crime and invasion:
    Join Numbers USA. They are for ENFORCING our immigration laws, lowering the work visas, anchor babies, mandatory use of e-verify, etc. They rate each candidate on immigration issues and they have free faxes that you can send to the White House, your Congress & Representatives. It’s easy & free, please join!!!
    Check out Numbers USA.
    Feel free to repost. ..

    January 2, 2013 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. dc

    Before any physician interviews me about my firearms, I will stop him and ask him how many people were killed last year by medical "mistakes".......I have seen estimates ranging from 100,000 to 200,000 each year.

    January 2, 2013 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. PPJr

    Doctor sez: bullets don't kill people, holes do.

    January 2, 2013 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. steve

    Doctors kill more people than guns, and we're supposed to listen to THEM lecture us? doctors also advocate fluoride in the water and a slew of vaccines for the kids. who is the real danger here?

    January 2, 2013 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. maggie

    Re: guns and doctors: there are many (majority) of doctors own guns.....that is not to say that they go around shooting people but they are just as lax about properly securing their weapons as the worst offenders.

    January 3, 2013 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. nancy

    I suppose no one has read their history lessons any more....does NO ONE remember that the right to bear arms is to PROTECT OURSELVES from GOVERNMENT?....that's why america got started folks....to get away from a government gone rogue. boston tea party anyone?

    January 3, 2013 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. PaulG

    In my opinion doctors should focus on NOT killing their own patients seeing how medical errors kill 98,000 Americans annually.

    January 3, 2013 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. DrMingo

    You are mixing gun violence from drug wars and the like with mass killings from people who have mental illness. Two separate items with different cures.

    January 3, 2013 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Kevin

    I get VERY annoyed when medical professionals enter a gun debate. Doctors can only comment on the effects of being shot, but their training and experience as a doctor does NOT make them an authority on how to prevent someone from being shot. Unfortunately, their opinion is weighed heavier by many because, well, their DOCTORS right!

    January 3, 2013 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son

      Good point. I also personaly know two doctors that are concealed carry,

      January 3, 2013 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
  32. Sy2502

    Preventable medical error is the 6th cause of death in America. Homicide is at the 15th place.
    Food for thought.

    January 3, 2013 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son

    As someone dating a medical professional (gen surg). Vehicles kill, maim and disfigure far more than guns. Both intentionally and accidently.

    January 3, 2013 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Kevin

    I will go a step further, into territory that is sure to get me condemned

    Victims of shootings should not participate in gun control debate. First, by being victims their opponents cannot counter their arguments least they are seen as unsympathetic. Second, and perhaps most important, being shot only makes you an authority on how much bulllets hurt, it does NOT make you an instant authority on how to prevent shootings

    January 3, 2013 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Moar gunz!!!

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    January 3, 2013 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      Press #1 to have an anti-stupid pill delivered to your hovel.

      January 3, 2013 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
  36. roggy65

    "We're in place where nobody wants people with uncontrolled seizures operating cars or school buses," Laine writes. "Why have someone with uncontrolled psychosis own a firearm?"
    Is the purpose of this quote meant to indicate that gun rights supporters thinks it's ok? There are no checks for buying a car (other than your credit) or getting a drivers license (other than an eye test). There is no check to buy alcohol except that your over 21. Yet we all KNOW how dangerous those are in combination. Physicians have no business asking their patients about guns as it is not pertinent to their health. How about doctors sticking with their profession instead of playing politics.

    January 3, 2013 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. steve

    That's like asking garage mechanics to get involved in vehicular manslaughter deaths.

    January 3, 2013 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. fred ayers, md

    Doctors? I'm waiting for the POLICE to have a national walk on Washington (considering how many of them get shot every year; over 400 officers were shot at in LA just last year alone).

    January 3, 2013 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Sagebrush Shorty

    The operation was a complete success but the patient died. MD logic.

    January 3, 2013 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Joe

    I am a pediatrician, a gun owner, and own a car that has a top speed of 210 miles per hour. I don't use my guns to kill people, and I don't drive like a maniac. Guns are not designed to kill people, but to deliver a small piece of metal at great speeds at a close or distant target. That's all. In fact, the majority ( 99.99999%) of civilian owned firearms never kill another human, so either guns are really poorly designed, or you people saying they are designed to kill people are lying. Now my car is designed to go very fast, but it's against the law and dangerous, so as a rational and law-abiding citizen, I don't drive at 200 miles an hour! Look at that, an object designed to do something dangerous is used in a non dangous manner (car) and a gun designed to do something dangerous used the same responsible way. So until you start putting regulators in cars designed to not let people speed, stop trying to limit my normal capacity magazines by mislabeling them high capacity! And stop claiming guns are designed to kill people if cars aren't designed to speed. Both are end results of tools used improperly. As to function, why I own a gun is irrelevant as why I own a car that can speed, both serve a function if I want to and that function can be as simple as "having fun"

    January 4, 2013 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Mike

    Doctors have nothing to do with it. What the eff, man!

    January 4, 2013 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Roh

    Gun control is a futile exercise. Its a waste of time, money and public resources. The 2nd amendment will end all these fantasy based aspirations on gun control. With 300 million guns in circulation including a further 3 million since the Connecticut massacre any attempt to introduce control on guns will be fiercely opposed by the NRA and the Republicans. Unless Americans are willing to repeal the 2nd amendment gun control will end in failure. You cannot say "I am for the second amendment but with limitations". That is pure nonsense. Either you are for guns or against guns. The Connecticut massacre IS the cost of having the 2nd amendment and more such shootings should be expected. The only other solution is to divide the United States into two countries. Considering the gulf between the 2 parties that is not a bad idea.

    January 5, 2013 at 05:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Julia

    Why don't they put password protected key codes on guns like smartphones? This would help prevent accidental deaths and guns couldn't be used if stolen. If gun manufacturers won't put them on then the free market could develop and sell them as add-ons to gun owners. Having never owned a gun, I don't know if this is possible but I'd be curious to hear what other people think.

    January 5, 2013 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. nosugrefneb

    Unfortunate: There is a link to virtually everything in this article except the editorial in question. Come on, CNN. For anyone interested, it can be found here: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1544355

    January 10, 2013 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.