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 (215 Responses)
  1. tom

    "Gun injuries account for nearly 1 in 5 injury deaths in the United States. "

    ok, so where is the outrage and "ban-itis" for the 4 out of 5 deaths that ARE NOT GUN RELATED?

    December 31, 2012 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      AMA lobbies for vehicular safety, child abuse, bicycle helmets, football injury issues, many causes of injury, not just injuries related to guns. I'm no fan of the AMA (and I'm an MD). Many of the other causes of injury are at least related to something we can all agree are good things (getting somewhere in a car, riding bikes, youth sports). But, the only useful purpose of a gun is to prop up some (usually male) ego who thinks it "will make him a man" if he has more/bigger guns than someone else. For medical mistakes (yes, they kill 100,000 people a year) would you really want to ban medicine (or cars, or bikes, or football)? Banning guns only hurts a shrinking fraction of the populations self importance.

      December 31, 2012 at 19:00 | Report abuse |
    • billybill

      @ Mark:
      Small business owners working third shift in very bad neighborhoods that police are slow to respond to, there is someone who may need a firearm legally to defend from illegal ones. We dont all live in the suburbs or gentrified areas of the city...
      Think before spouting off your comfortable and privileged point of view that has no concept of the realities many in this country face every day.

      December 31, 2012 at 22:00 | Report abuse |
    • Air Lar

      Mark: I can't imagine an honest to goodness MD would ever be so short-sighted and uninformed as to make a comment like the one you just made regarding the "only use for a gun". The true uses for a gun vary from hunting, to target shooting/sport, to self-defense. You can't ignore that just to blindly push your own ridiculous agenda.

      January 1, 2013 at 02:20 | Report abuse |
    • fhgytfyhtfj

      still loaded number and more propaganda. they just use car injuries, no falling, poisoning, allergy, electrocution etc.

      January 1, 2013 at 03:40 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Right on, cars kill more people in a day than guns do....Ban all cars? Don't forget to throw in booze....politicians are drinkers, we can't allow the banning of something proven to kill innocent people! Death by Drunk drivers by far outnumber gun deaths. NO Man will tell me I cannot defend my life or my families. Don't Tread On Me!

      January 1, 2013 at 03:59 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Funny as of 4 AM no one has liked, shared, or recommended this!!

      January 1, 2013 at 04:01 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Maybe doctors should become politicians if they want to tell everyone what to do and what not to do. Stick to your jobs, not trying to run others lives. I can name many more dangerous things such as drug laws, have they worked? Not very well. Nothing personal, but this debate is not for doctors.You people are reminiscent of Hitler....everyone should have blond hair, blue eyes, don't smoke, don't drink, don't drive your car. I am of age, I can decide how I want to live my life. I am not harming anyone, so stay out of my business, and just do the job you went to school for. If we ban everything you want us to, you'll be UN-employeed.

      January 1, 2013 at 04:24 | Report abuse |
    • AndyB

      People only need guns to defend themselves because criminals have guns. If our society actually prevented criminals from getting guns then average citizens do not need guns. Your argument that guns are needed for self defense is circular and is promoted by the NRA for gun sales only.

      Second, guns don't kill people, people kill people is also missing the point. A person with a knife is a lot less efficient at killing people. Even looking at countries which have strict gun laws, knife attacks rarely result in double digit deaths. Guns on the other hand can kill a lot faster. The point is not that guns do or do not kill people. The point is guns kill people a lot faster.

      January 1, 2013 at 05:06 | Report abuse |
    • Rustoleum

      Condolences to all who are victims of violence from whatever source. Fact: TOBACCO causes more deaths each year than alcohol, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, AIDS, suicides, MURDERS, fires, drownings, airplane crashes, car crashes and the death penalty COMBINED. And we the public and our politicians sit silently.

      January 1, 2013 at 07:41 | Report abuse |
    • Fleur

      Are you suggesting a "ban" on cancer, cardiac disease etc?

      January 1, 2013 at 09:04 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      The argument that cars kill more people is somewhat true... But why is this true. Well it's true because people are to stupid to opperate automobiles safely. If cars drove them selfs the number of automobile deaths would drop to near zero.

      Guns are the same. People are to stupid to be armed.

      Now why do we not ban the automobile? Well because it is so usefull for other things then killing people. I takes people to where they need to go. They move products to where they need to be... So automobile despite killing more people then guns the automobile would never be banned.

      Now what about guns? The are pretty much useless for anything else. They are good for killing when your in the mood to do a little killing but what about the rest of the time?

      Americans will just have to face up to the fact eventualy guns will get banned. If you don't believe me just look follow the trends.

      Americans once said they had a right to own slaves. That changed.
      Americans once had laws that black americans had to ride at the back of the bus. That changed
      Americans once had laws that women could not vote. That changed.
      Americans once only had white men for presidents. That changed.

      Now many americans say we will allways have our guns. Well how's that working out? Guess what it's going to change.

      January 1, 2013 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      Most of those are suicides.

      January 1, 2013 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
    • betty

      Guns for personal protection should be allowed. Guns for hunting should be ok. Semi or Semi automatic weapons should not be allowed. Weapons that have the capacity for large magazines should not be allowed. Also, anyone requesting a gun permit should have to complete a complete gun safety course and should be held responsible should their child get access to those weapons.

      January 1, 2013 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Can you believe those numbers? They are some masterfully crafted works of art! I strongly suspect a whole team of PhDs worked on them to get what CNN wanted.

      Amazing stuff!

      The problem is that to maintain their logic I will now need to get my automobile mechanic involved in my health care decision making process.

      January 1, 2013 at 18:38 | Report abuse |
    • Jason crich

      If a Dr. probes myself or my family when I seeing them for treatment, we will walk out. Dr's have no business pushing their political views while seeing a patient. The AMA would be better off exposing the dangers to personal health that government tyranny brings. Hundred of millions of lives have been destroyed by centralized government power (I.e. Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Catros's Cuba, Assad's Syria). Far more than by person on person violence.

      January 1, 2013 at 20:02 | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      1 in 5 Injury deaths. Media biased reporting trying to make things sound worse than they are. More people died in Vehicle related deaths than by gun. Of those 4 of 5 other deaths, 3 in 5 are related to vehicle accidents or unintential falls (from any height). So perhaps we should ban tall buildings and autos? Or how about other non-injury related deaths. Such as 652,091 from heart disease, 559,312 from cancer and 143,579 from stroke. When gun deaths is around 30,000, these means we have 25+ times people dying from heart disease and stroke which are driven by obesity. So if you want to cut the grief, ban being over weight! Heck, if the doctors want to save lives, they should concentrate on the medically related items first! If they can't get people to cut their weight and live healthier lifestyles to cut the existing deaths, why bother with something that can't even control.

      January 1, 2013 at 23:50 | Report abuse |
    • tdm

      America is voting in the most clear, honest, and unambiguous way:

      semi-automatic weapons sales are hitting record levels!

      and meanwhile in other areas, gun buy backs are cited as successful!

      amazing what people do with their own personal will and freedom of choice.

      imagine that...people making their own choices..individually.

      another great day to be an american, and see america working.

      contrast this to a law that will ban guns, but not actually do anything at all to influnce individual BEHAVIOUR!

      some people are looking for a magic pill, angel dust..some wise words on paper and all of the evil behaviour will magically dissappear.


      until then, I'll keep my guns, protect my home and children.

      and I suggest you do the same...my intuition is we are about to see a very protracted season of evil and violence in this country.

      and if you aren't prepared..well..good luck holding up the law in your defense.

      (hint: it doesn't work that way in the real world..never actually has worked!)

      January 2, 2013 at 00:14 | Report abuse |
  2. chuck

    As a doctor, Dr. Laine is foolish. More people are killed by medical mistakes than guns every year. Should we ban doctors?

    The medical field thrives on research and facts. Dr Laine however is driven by emotions and poor science. If she wants to practice voodoo medicine, besides banning guns should we also return to leeches and blood letting.

    December 31, 2012 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sanity Will Prevail

      There would probably be fewer medical mistakes if emergency rooms didn't have to focus most of their attention on repairing bodies torn to shreds by guns and bullets designed for maximum damage. Your arguments are antiquated, thoughtless and a part of the problem.

      December 31, 2012 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • bs1

      The majority of homicides in the US (with or without the use of firearms) is criminal gang members killing other criminal gang members. This is a positive thing since the police and the pathetic legal system aren't doing their job of eliminating such gangs. The gangs are illegal, the guns the gangs have are illegal, the drugs the gangs deal are illegal, etc. all of those laws are not preventing a damned thing.

      December 31, 2012 at 21:15 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Thank you Doctor, not one of my 20 something firearms has killed anyone, and if you don't point a gun at me or a civilian, it will stay that way. Happy New Year Doc!

      January 1, 2013 at 04:04 | Report abuse |
    • PracticingMD

      Cars , doctors, water, knives are rarely used as methods of mass murder. When they start comparing to gun homicides I'll start worrying about them the same as guns. We need to better pay attention to the "well-regulated" part of the 2nd amendment. We should always realize that each amendment has had restrictions , from the first through the last and we decide what those restrictions should be.

      January 2, 2013 at 01:55 | Report abuse |
    • replytochuck

      it is refreshing to see a doctor understand what bs it is to have the politics of university power / recognition / prestige hungry / greedy 'shoved down our throats' once again in order to attempt to make zombie slaves of all who stand in their way – or rub them the wrong way – or don't want to be a guinia pig – or frustrate them because they can't make them well – and oh – they will surely be readmitted – and there goes another penny from the medicare rating – so best hollar foul – and have the patient arrested – get them out of our system – into the judicial system – that will save this years medicare rating – maybe .... politics and mad bad sad medicine in the streets and on the horizon ... what fun – not!

      January 2, 2013 at 20:02 | Report abuse |
  3. medlist1

    We had 195,000 deaths caused by medical mistakes last year. That is over 6 times the number of gun deaths cited in the article. Maybe the medical establishment should fix it's own problems before moving into law enforcement.

    December 31, 2012 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Natalie

      We are talking about guns and not medical mistakes.

      January 1, 2013 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
    • agree

      i agree with docs focusing on their own problems first – before trying to control the lives of others
      i have never agreed with doctors have more say about a patient's life than the patient themselves
      doctors need to learn to communicate with their patients before asking the patients to submit to their control
      spend more than 5 minutes with a doctor – and they make you feel like a child or an imbasile for needing more information about cures for illnesses or any real discussion with what is really wrong that is affecting health concerns – health care in the US is a bunch of bs – why would anyone want doctors more involved in patients lives to begin with – ask a doctor if they really want to be more involved – get real – you know they don't

      January 2, 2013 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
  4. JLA

    And how many people die each year from diseases directly caused by cigarettes ? About 500,000 I believe. Why does Obama ban cigarettes ? Oh I fofrgot. He likes to smoke, so public safety be damned on that issue.

    December 31, 2012 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Richard Wad

      Good point!

      December 31, 2012 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
    • Rose

      Wow. Large amount of ignorance on one page. JLA, let me enlighten your ridiculous statement. Cigarettes kill YOU and any Moron sitting next to you and inhaling your reject smoke. However, it is not 100% certain that you will die from it. Yet, I think if you were in that classroom on December 14, your chances of survival were less than smoking all damn day.

      For the rest of you..... Why don't you just cure yourselves. You get mad when doctors act like God but you sue them when they are not God. What's it going to be. You all make mistakes but unfortunately, doctors deal with lives and their mistakes are buried. No one is perfect but doctors don't wake up one morning, like that freak, and say......"hmmmm, I think I'll kill someone today". This is why America has hate within its walls. You are all spoiled and bitter.

      January 1, 2013 at 02:22 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      As to Rose, you seem to be the bitter one. I own numerous fire arms. Yet I have never killed a human with one. Who knows, maybe someone like me with a CC permit may save your life one day.....unless people like you try to ban them. Talk about bitter!

      January 1, 2013 at 04:07 | Report abuse |
    • PracticingMD

      Another ridiculous, intellectually dishonest comparison. If Adam Layne had walked into that school with a carton of Marlboros everyone would be alive today.

      January 2, 2013 at 01:57 | Report abuse |
  5. Frangible

    If all the funding to date from the NIH yielded studies that - according to the referenced metanalaysis - were highly flawed and "inappropriate", did you ever consider that's why people got annoyed and stopped the funding?

    This money was never going to science. It was going to political hacks who wrote grant proposals to meet their own polemic ends and had severe methodological flaws or produced results that couldn't even disprove the null hypothesis.

    If you want to open that funding up again to be misused again, someone should give Pons and Fleischmann a call.

    December 31, 2012 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. LJ

    OK. I'm an MD, and strong supporter of our Second Ammendment. I will sound off!! Gun safety is important, but I will not support any gun ban that violates my right to protect myself or my family. The liberal agenda is to make us all subservient to the Federal Government. I will not Bow to their will. An Armed Society is a Free One. Our Forefathers were correct in establishing the Second Ammendment. They knew what Tyranny felt like. We are being led by fools who refuse to study our Country's history.

    December 31, 2012 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toddflanders

      I really admire your fear-mongering: glad to see the only way for you to defend your family is with a gun. As a physician you should be aware that your have a much higher chance of having an accident with a gun than you ever will have of protecting your family with a gun.

      December 31, 2012 at 21:38 | Report abuse |
    • Air Lar

      Todd: spoken like a true mindless liberal, parroting the same unsubstantiated arguments over and over. You, and anyone who would so easily give up the second amendment rights our forefathers gave you and that so many men died to protect, are a SAD EXCUSE for a US citizen.

      January 1, 2013 at 02:24 | Report abuse |
    • Rose

      LJ. That sound real tough but on reality, you are very subservient to the government. You pay taxes for things that you may not want to support. We vote for shmuck after shmuck that only cares about themselves and their own pockets. You lose your retirement but they keep getting richer and richer. So..... Unless you are going to use your gun to start a revolution, you really don't need it to be stronger against the federal government. Really. What does that mean? NO ONE! NEEDS AN AUTOMATIC WEAPON. THEY ARE SOLELY MADE TO KILL PEOPLE. Use high doses of potassium or cyanide.

      January 1, 2013 at 02:28 | Report abuse |
    • Buckeye Jim

      Agree on that LJ.
      I sent a link to this story to a very good friend of mine who is head ER Doctor at my local hospital . 2 days before the school shooting he said he was going to buy a hand gun to carry. I let him borrow 2 of mine so he could decide which model he liked better.

      January 1, 2013 at 03:37 | Report abuse |
    • Protect our kids

      Do you practice medicine like in 2nd Amendment's era too?

      January 1, 2013 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
  7. toddflanders

    Glad the gun nuts are out in force tonight. The 2nd amendment called for the establishment of armed militias. It wasn't intended to allow private citizens to possess military aresenals.

    December 31, 2012 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • billybill

      Wrong, the second amendment states that a well regulated militia is necessary for a government to exist, and that because of that the people need the right to arm themselves in case that military and its government turn to tyranny. The second amendment is not concerned with keeping our volunteered military forces armed, it is concerned with keeping the citizens armed against them, just in case...

      December 31, 2012 at 22:03 | Report abuse |
    • Air Lar

      Another moronic comment from Todd. You couldn't be more wrong, as the SCOTUS said otherwise in 2010 – the only thing that post did is prove you don't read much, other than what you pick up from the other uninformed libs in the forums...

      January 1, 2013 at 02:27 | Report abuse |
    • Rose

      Well brains. I don't see anyone using their guns against our government and boy have they made our lives miserable. Honestly, they suck at it. The guns are being used on each other. The second amendment was written over 200 years ago. Times change. People change. The second amendment has made our streets a war zone. You don't have to fear terrorists. You have to fear your crazy american neighbor. Hes either insane and plotting a rampage or he's a petafile. People a FRIGGEN nuts and they use guns to feel like powerful boys.

      But on a different Note..... If you look back to the 50s and 60s.... Movies were about love, dancing and singing. The most violent scene was nothing more than a gunshot in West Side Story. There was no blood. Today, movies are all about blood splattering and violence. Kids see this from early childhood, it does not teach them to be caring and compassionate. It teaches hate and revenge. If we don't start nurturing the brains of our children, teaching them love and communication then we can't expect them to be sane. I feel sad for the future of this country.

      January 1, 2013 at 02:43 | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      That's funny. I have no fear of my neighbors. A vast majority of them own firearms, just like me. I don't know of any that are pedophiles, but I suppose that's possible. I do know how to educate my children on what is right and wrong, and how to keep them safe from abusers like that. I enjoy the occasional action movie or violent video game; however, my family and I all understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Maybe this is because I believe in a strong family unit with responsible adults passing actionable knowledge down to their kids, rather than trusting the school system or media to do so. Who knows?

      What I do know is that despite this, I do see a purpose for the Second Amendment to stay, as intended, without restriction. And of course, with the following statement, many will dismiss me as a conservative crackpot, but know that this goes well beyond party lines: I have absolutely no faith or trust in our federal government. The abuses, the NDAA, the drone strikes on American citizens, Neo-McCarthyism, increased surveillance, and an entire class of people reliant on the government to exist; these things concern me. Our government is incredibly incompetent at best; they are extremely corrupt and even possibly even evil at worst. I know I am not the only person to think this. We must act as a check against this, and for that we need firearms. The only true power in the world is naked force; Your rights do not exist but for your capability of defending them.

      January 4, 2013 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
  8. Sandy

    Dr's responsibility is not to counsel us on guns for heavens sake. That responsibility falls on those/us who own them. We have had guns in our family for over 75 years and not one of them have ever killed anyone. You just are not gonna get the guns from law abiding citizens, who have the right to own them. Somehow, this has to turn more toward the mentally ill, the responsibilty of their family/parents, and our society who shuns them. There is just not enough help available, should we just lock them up because their mentally ill? They used to, if you look back in census reports you will see entire pages filled with mentally ill, they were called lunatics and they lived out their life in a facility. Is that right, apparently we deemed it not because now we have all the privacy laws protecting them. Somewhere, somehow, we have to get better control of this.

    December 31, 2012 at 22:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. mlblogs2012

    Doctors really need to Focus on some type of prescription Drug Control plan..

    December 31, 2012 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sinilau

      You hit it on the nail! Watch any drug commercial and listen for the list of side effects. Suicide among other things is one of the side effects listed. These Doctors are prescribing drugs like candy. In most cases I wouldn't blame the mental illness for these, I would look into what prescribed drugs they have been taking. Gun control is not the answer.

      January 1, 2013 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • thoughts

      i agree – it is the doctors who still prescribe these medications who are fault
      do the doctors also say they should be addressing the mental health meds crisis – where nothing really works – and all the meds are designed to cause more illness or violence – to feed the medicaid and medicare corruption that is rampant – that is all it is – noone really gets any help – and if they do – they eventually wish they hadn't – when they realize they are actually a victim of the system – not a well-wished patient happy to made better by the system.
      arrest every doctor who prescribes the poison – and violence will decrease – let's do a reasearch double-blind on that

      January 2, 2013 at 07:58 | Report abuse |
  10. Barlow

    Why would doctors be in favor of an increase in violent crime? Because that's what happens every time law-abiding citizens are disarmed by their government.

    December 31, 2012 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. saveyourfeet

    if you are a diabetic you need to read this blog. saveyourfeet.wordpress.com

    December 31, 2012 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. drbilltoth

    Medicine has to clean it's own house first. Properly prescribed medicines are the 3rd leading cause of death in the US and have been for decades. Then there' the drug resistant bacteria running rampant in hospitals, psychotropic drugs, and plain old errors. Besides the Sacramento Bee reported on December 27 that for more than a decade in California gun ownership has more that tripled while death and injuries from guns have fallen nearly 50 percent. And interesting to note something we rarely see noted was that almost half of deaths related to guns were suicides. Fascinating. Live with Intention, drbilltothCom/blog

    December 31, 2012 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PracticingMD

      (1) It's medication errors that are the 3rd leading cause of death. This includes intentional overdose.
      (2) Docs bear responsibility for antibiotic overuse but so do consumers requesting an antibiotic every time they get sick figuring they can judge whether something's a bacteria or virus by the color of their snot.
      (3) Pharmceuticals are the ones who create the meds, we just prescribe them (or "Docs don't kill patients , bad medicine kills patients").

      January 2, 2013 at 02:05 | Report abuse |
    • replyer

      that is bs to blame the prescription errors and prescribing poison to patients on the pharma industry – they would not thrive without the corrupted doctors prescribing the meds – the docs can read the labels – and get paid to do it – and to understand the poison they are prescribing – if the patient objects or complains – the doc can just as easily call a cop

      January 2, 2013 at 20:25 | Report abuse |
  13. Richard

    There is a distinct lack of understanding in the viewpoint that "banning guns" will change anything....do any of the people advocating this think that criminals or mentally unstable/planning mass-murderers will turn their guns in? Really. Half a million deaths from cigarettes, several times as many deaths from pharmaceuticals as all gun-related deaths put together. Doctors, if you want to lower the death rate, there are more obvious ways to do it. Clean your own house first! Those who live either in bad neighborhoods and need protection, or live in the rural/country areas where guns are just another everyday tool, need guns for protection, hunting, and...just because it is our right to have them. If you live in a nice gated community or in a city and don't ever have to worry about it...good for you. Check your local police department's response time. A lot can happen in that time. The statement that guns are more likely to injure the owners is complete idiocy; a statement of ignorance. I feel much less safe when there are no guns around. Look atthe stats; most of these mass shootings are happening in gun-free zones-areas that ban concealed carry. Why do you think that is so? That does not mean you have to exercise your second amendment rights; it means that it is a right, and I get to exercise it if I feel I am up to the responsibility. Doctors, do a better job of taking care of those who need help with their mental/emotional problems, instead of passing the buck.

    January 1, 2013 at 02:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. fhgytfyhtfj


    January 1, 2013 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. sanchanim

    Doctors should be involved, but not about guns. they should be involved in improving mental health care access, and also reviewing the medications that we are giving long term to people for various mental disorders. Those drugs have some serious side affects, and I don' think parents and or friends are aware of what can happen.
    As tragic as this event was, right now there is no discussion, it is simply a lecture. The only thing the NRA has suggested was to arm teachers. This comment was made with precedent. Israel has done it for years. Texas, and Utah have gone around federal law and are doing it. Even Bill Clinton started a program on this after Columbine, yet the gun control groups simply scoff at the ideas, which are also supported by Barbara Boxer, and dozens of Police groups across the country. Is this the only solution, no, but it is a start and it is something we can get in place quickly.
    Having experience in both the military and civilian life with guns, I can tell you no law would have prevented this and no law barring full confiscation would prevent gun deaths. However, that being said the next Adam Lanza, had he no firearms would revert to bombs which are pathetically easy to make.
    I also believe in the second amendment. I also understand that given an average response time of 20 minutes, and an average of 8 shots per minute, no high capacity magazine ban, or bullet button what have you would make a darn bit of difference. I shoot ten round mags, and have a bullet button as a law abiding CA resident, and I can swap them in a second or two. Against unarmed kids, I have all day, as sick as that sounds.
    Right now all this outcry is feel good legislation. It feels good, but with 300 million guns in circulation it does nothing. Oregon, Connecticut, Columbine, all those guns were stolen. VA Tech the gunman used 22 caliber pistols, not a single assault rifle to be found. Columbine happened while there was an AWB in affect. The genie is out of the bottle. You can't put that back in even if you wanted to. Any attempt to mass confiscation will be met with opposition. That isn't a threat, but simply a fact. There are those who will not simply hand over there arms.

    January 1, 2013 at 03:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DocB

      I lived in Israel from 1999-2001 during the height of the Second Intifada, so I can reliably speak to this. Israel does not arm the teachers but there are armed security guards at every school. Those guards are reserve soldiers in the Israeli Defense Force so they have extensive training.

      January 1, 2013 at 04:07 | Report abuse |
  16. Joe

    Doctors could discuss that keeping firearms around metally ill family members who stay in the basement all day might be bad for your health.

    January 1, 2013 at 03:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. DocB

    How is the conversation supposed to go:
    Doc: "Are you licensed to own a legal gun?"
    Patient: "Yes."
    Doc: "OK, don't kill anyone who is innocent."
    Patient: "Had I wanted to do that I wouldn't have gotten a license or bought a legal gun."

    January 1, 2013 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sam Watson

    Maybe doctors should chime in on the 800 abortions performed daily if we want to save lives?

    January 1, 2013 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Regina Downing

      Yeah, you can personally fund the needs of all those unwanted children instead.

      January 1, 2013 at 07:27 | Report abuse |
  19. Troy

    Guns = Freedom. Freedom to protect yourself against the tyranny of government and the tyranny of the lawless. You freedom-hating, government-dependant, I-know-what's-best-for-everyone communists make me sick.

    January 1, 2013 at 05:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Odissey

      Did you take your medications today? 🙂

      January 1, 2013 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
  20. Regina Downing

    I don't have a problem with guns. I have a problem with drunks with guns. And unless you can assure me that a mean drunk can't get a gun, I'm going to have to side with the anti-gun lobbyists.

    January 1, 2013 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sam

      It comes down to personal responsibility. If I have irresponsible sex than that's ok in your mind to slaughter the unborn. But if I want to protect my family than that's not. No double standard here. Why aren't you advocating for prohibition since there are far more lives lost from and abuse caused by alcohol? If you are going to apply a standard of savings lives than it needs to be applied across the board to include drugs, cigarettes, and everything in between.

      January 1, 2013 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • GunOwner

      I have a problem with drunks and cars. Nobody is trying to outlaw cars. WAKE UP!

      January 1, 2013 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
  21. Portland tony

    Until we license gun use (and ownership) as we do drivers of vehicles we're gonna have problems. Everyday people are arrested for improper operation of a motor vehicle. Many having their license to drive revoked after numerous citations including DUIs. People who are bad drivers pay higher insurance rates for their autos. Yet hardly anyone gets cited for "carrying while impaired" and any type of liability insurance for damage caused by improper firearm use is unheard of. Perhaps It's time to regulate and license gun
    use like we do for the "privilege"of driving a car!

    January 1, 2013 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KW

      I'm not saying its a bad idea, but, if you take the thought further you do realize that even a felon can own a car...and, even if you take a drivers license away there really isn't anyway to stop them from actually driving – cops would need to pull them over while driving for breaking some other driving law in order to bust them for driving without a license right? Kind of a catch 22 example.

      January 1, 2013 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
  22. Bisnono

    With great freedom comes great responsibility. Most states require that if you are under a certain age that before you can even get a learner's permit, you take a driver education course. Before you receive your license, you have to take both a written and driving test to ensure you not only know the rules of the road, but that you know how to properly operate your vehicle. Then you are required to carry vehicle insurance to cover you in the event of an accident, whether or not it was your fault. Plus you have to pay an annual tax on your vehicle and renew your license periodically. Not only that, but there are limits as to the kind of vehicle you can drive on our roads and how fast they can go. Your vehicle must be street legal, conform to various regulations pertaining to air pollution and emissions controls, and most consumer vehicles can't exceed about 120mph. If you want to drive a race car, there are places around the country where you can pay a fee and do that legally, but you can't drive them on the interstate. Not everyone can drive an 18-wheeler either. So perhaps it is time to drop the all-or-nothing rhetoric and finally have a meaningful and responsible conversation about gun ownership in this country. Certainly I think that any reasonable person would agree that someone who is mentally ill, untrained and unlicensed should not be given the keys to a semi truck and allowed to drive it. It is difficult to understand why we should not treat at least assault weapons with the same care and respect that we use with the vehicles we drive.

    January 1, 2013 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Portland tony


      January 1, 2013 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
    • Michael B

      Interesting the only comment that makes sense and nobody said anything. I guess it's much more fun to spew bitterness!
      I fell sorry for the children growing up today. I fear that we are in a cycle of death to see how many we can kill each time it happens. With 300 million guns that should be easy to do! My guess is that soon our Schools will look more like Prisons than Schools? As a child I remember growing up with a small amount of fear wondering when the bombs would drop because of all of the Air-raid Drills we had. I can only wonder what effect going to School with Armed Guards, Barbed Wire, and Metal Detectors will have on impressionable minds. God help us! Thanks Bisnono......

      January 11, 2013 at 01:43 | Report abuse |
  23. GunOwner

    When I read some of this garbage, it makes me understand how Obama could get re-elected. Doctors have no say so about guns, as gun owners have no say so about the medical field. Wake up you friggin morons. My guns are going no place. Troy is absolutely correct..GUNS = FREEDOM. You don't like it, get the hell out!

    January 1, 2013 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Portland tony

      Freedom from WHAT? Certainly not responsibility!

      January 1, 2013 at 10:26 | Report abuse |
    • Helena

      Freedom to kill innocents?

      January 1, 2013 at 21:26 | Report abuse |
  24. Zaphod2010

    Good idea. i would like for a doctor to step up and tell us what it looks like for a six year old to be shot 11 times with a semi automatic gun.
    The real truth. Not the pretty version!
    GUNS DO NOT EQUAL FREEDOM!!! It's murder.

    January 1, 2013 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Truth

      I work with children with disabilities
      and I have seen children who were beaten to death by fists.
      It's ever bit as sickening and gut-wrenching as any other way to abuse, maim or kill a defenseless child.
      It's preying on the defenseless
      and making more people defenseless is the dumbest thing we can do.
      It's a mental health issue, stop with the smoke and mirrors.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • grieferkiller

      Then we should also view the stark reality of rape victims, and murder victims, who might have prevented becoming victims, if they'd possessed a gun and the skill and will to use it.

      January 1, 2013 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
  25. EldRick

    Doctors should not take liberal hot-button political positions, and if mine ever did, it would be my last visit to him.

    January 1, 2013 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Jokesterer

    Didn't the doctors try to get involved before? And wasn't it pointed out to them that the number of deaths due to medical mistakes dwarfed the number of gun deaths? Maybe they should clean their own house first.

    January 1, 2013 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • recon54

      200,000 deaths from errors/mistakes/malpractice/incompetence out of 34 million hospital admissions annually.
      11,000 annual homicides from firearms out of 310 million civilian owned firearms nationwide.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
  27. Blinkers

    One could make such a decision to involve those within the medical profession that entails the preserving of life under a “Hippocratic Oath” to supply a bias “Personal Opinion” in lieu of a sound medical diagnosis akin to such a profession but only if one be a hypochondriac self-diagnosed as mentally ill (e.g., be deemed such suggestion a mistake, less be deemed the village idiot….)

    January 1, 2013 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Portland tony

    Perhaps Doctors as citizens should get involved in the discussion. I don't think there is universal agreement among any professional group about firearms and who should have them!

    January 1, 2013 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. jack

    An interesting fact that hasn't been addressed above: The number of shootings have increaed 50%, but thanks to better medical treatment the number of shooting-related deaths have gone done. (link at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324712504578131360684277812.html)

    January 1, 2013 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. recon54

    If the medical field is to enter the debate on public safety and acceptable risk in our modern world, they will have to step carefully.

    There are 35 million inpatient hospitalizations each year in the US. Of those, nearly 200,000 inpatient hospitalizations end in death due to medical error, malpractice, or other unintentional mistakes where the patient dies of something other than their original illness or injuries that brought them to the hospital. 200,000 unintentional deaths a year.

    There are 310 million privately owned firearms in the US. If people are to believe the statements that each is "solely designed to kill and is a murder/massacre just waiting to happen", then the fact that there are 11,000 criminal firearm deaths a year (where someone wanted the victim dead) is an incredible low number, almost 20 times less than those who die every year due to incompetence or errors in medicine.

    If one plays the numbers, having a gun is far less likely to result in death than admitting oneself to the hospital. But we as a nation treat hospitalization as a "understandable and valid risk". Yet the death (not due to illness or injury, but errors) are HUGE in comparison to our medical system.

    We're now seeing single victim shootings getting national headlines, and not one word of concern or "let's make this safer and better" about something that we all are far more likely to encounter and risk.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. grieferkiller

    This site appears to be censoring my comments. Anti-gun nazis!

    January 1, 2013 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. grieferkiller

    @ Mark "M.D."

    I fear for your patients, if you use the same level of critical thought you appled to the gun issue on their care. Studies have shown that guns are used thousands of times in America to prevent violence by law-abiding gun owners. Why don't the lives saved, and rapes prevented, ever enter into the minds of the foaming-at-the-mouth anti-gun zealots? Guns are not props for the male ego. They serve a very real, and vital purpose in a thriving democracy.

    January 1, 2013 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. grieferkiller

    "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." - Mahatma Gandhi

    January 1, 2013 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. grieferkiller

    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that's good" - George Washington

    January 1, 2013 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. grieferkiller

    Rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon - so long as there is no answer to it - gives claws to the weak. - George Orwell, "You and the Atom Bomb", 1945

    January 1, 2013 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. grieferkiller

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

    January 1, 2013 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. grieferkiller

    "Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom." - John F. Kennedy

    January 1, 2013 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. grieferkiller

    Let us hope our weapons are never needed –but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government - and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws."
    Edward Abbey, "Abbey's Road", 1979

    January 1, 2013 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. TG

    Guns are not the problem, in which more are trying to rally individuals to support (or perhaps reject) stronger gun laws. The groups that are now focusing attention on guns have not hit the core of the problem. Jesus identified that hate, violence, starts in the heart, telling the wicked Jewish religious leaders that "out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, blasphemies."(Matt 15:19)

    Though Jesus was abused, he never allowed this to turn into hatred but always showed love (Luke 23:34), for the apostle Peter wrote of Jesus, that "when being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept committing himself to the one (Jehovah God) who judges righteously."(1 Pet 2:23)

    January 1, 2013 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. coalmen

    The negative health impacts of obesity and being overweight kill more people in the US that anything else. Why not make that illegal. Life is not a sterile environment. I'm not a child. We can't live forever and something will eventually kill us.

    January 1, 2013 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. gumby

    Perhaps people are only reading the headline about "joining the debate." Nobody is suggesting doctors tell people not have guns. The idea is that doctors can discuss with patients all kinds of safe and risky behaviors and perhaps remind new parents that they have extra responsibilities now that they have children. There are irresponsible parents who may not even think about some of the risks their children may face. Given the stigma around mental illness, there are plenty of discussions that don't happen, and things people refuse to even think about–maybe these conversations can save lives.

    January 1, 2013 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • grieferkiller

      I'm not against people making others aware of the risks involved with owning, using, maintaining, and storing firearms, in the home, especially when young children are present, or family members that have a history of mental illness. Be sensible, and make sure that your firearms are not loaded when cleaning them, or handling them for whatever reason, except when you're ready to shoot them. Always handle a gun as though it is loaded, and NEVER point it at anyone or anything that you do not intend to shoot. Decent gun safes can be purchased for less than the price of a single pistol or rifle, that have biometric fingerprint locks, or keypad locks, that allow for quick access, and restrict access to only those members of the home that are deemed responsible enough to be trusted with them.

      January 1, 2013 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • thoughts

      reply to greiferkiller:

      people go insane who were previously sane

      noone has a safeguard against insanity – even the most responsible of any group of people
      all people can go from sane to insane
      some can even go from insane to sane
      it is the nature of sanity and insanity
      sane vs. insane
      who's more insane – the doctor who thinks they will NEVER go insane
      or the patient who knows the doctor probably already is insane in their own corrupt way?

      January 2, 2013 at 08:39 | Report abuse |
  42. Charlie

    Why don't the doctors talk about the reported 190,000 plus patients that doctors kill each year? Maybe if they spent more time dealing witht thier own professioanl issues, we would all be safer. Of course as they usually only kill one at a time, CNN and the rest of the media don't discuss it.

    January 1, 2013 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. lranney

    So now we will have the professionals in white coats to tell us that firearms for protection are bad and help demonize them –
    What about the 180,000 deaths from medical errors and medication errors – re:

    Or this article from the UK – stating that doctor errors are causing the deaths of 1,000 patients a month?


    January 1, 2013 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ken

      Shhhh ... I want to see a media battle between the NRA and Doctors. Doctos and the AMA trying to paint guns as evil, the NRA countering with truthful ads showing the deaths and injuries caused by doctors errors outdo gun injuries every year. Should be a fun fight to laugh at.

      January 1, 2013 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
  44. SAWolf

    Physicians understand that junk food kills vastly more Americans than guns. So will it be banned?

    January 1, 2013 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Mike

    Psychiatrists cause most of these mass killings. Why in the world would we include a group of rabid poisoning monkeys that have to be monitored in a database (dollars for docs) in order to get their paid for opinions?

    January 1, 2013 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • thoughts

      over half the time (guestimating 90% of the time) people have to BEG for mental health care or consideration to begin with. Doctors have no NONE nada thought about body mind health because they still exist mentally in the dark ages where yoga and ancient healing thoughts and techniques are still nonexistant in their world (200 years vesus 1000's of knowledge and understanding) and YET – they get millions to research for one answer to one stupid question that a 5 year old would intuitively know the answer to. Get rid of the corruption and lies and ignorance surrounding mental health and regular doctors first – get real – like anyone is going to even admit to being mentally ill now – or their kids – the stigma is out of this world – the discrimination means the kid or person will no longer get educated or be able to work – or have career – and jail is the what these people really want as cure for their patients – to feed the medicaid, medicare, judicial, legal, government, privatized penal system with coerced and corrupt research techniques – a perfect sequestered quinia pig – which is all that it is in todays world – corrupt systems all of them – where a few make money – and most suffer because of it ... sound familiar – the one percent way

      January 2, 2013 at 08:18 | Report abuse |
  46. Ed

    Of course doctors should be part of this discussion. Virtually every case of highly public mass killing, with or without guns, ends up being attributed to someone who is dangerously mentally ill, and that's definitely the purview of doctors. We could start by having them explain how so many dangerously mentally ill people are out walking the streets. They can also help us understand how they seem to miss the symptoms, or don't report these dangerously mentally ill nut jobs to the authorities. In San Jose this morning we had a naked guy with a samurai sword in a police standoff. No one ever noticed that this guy shouldn't be out walking around? No one in the mental health system noticed he was likely to do something crazy dangerous?

    January 1, 2013 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Mortpes

    I go to the doctor often so I know doctors well.They do not have the time to cover all the medical concerns so please leave the non medical issues to others. There were 35,900 traffic deaths in 20009. Should my doctor talk about those as well? Not on my time and not on my dime.

    January 1, 2013 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Jason

    Well next time I head into a doctors office I'm bringing my car mechanic in for a second opinion.

    January 1, 2013 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • replytojason

      next time a doc asks if you have a gun – you can answer – why? planning on breaking in???
      why? are you volunteering to be my body guard?????????

      January 2, 2013 at 19:43 | Report abuse |
  49. Ken

    Got to get the doctors involved so they can tell people the horrors of gun injuries, the damage a bullet does, blah, blah, blah. You do know those are the exact reasons a person OWNS a gun. They want that weapon that can inflict massive damage so easily and from a distance. So when someon threatens them, they can yell "I have gun" and that criminal will hear that and fear the pain an injury and possible death that gun can cause. Or they can fire a warnign shot to install that fear in the criminal to chase them away. And if that criminal is so stupid or lacking in fear to continue to advance, they want that power to defend themselve and stop the criminal before they get injured.

    So go ahead, get doctors involved. All they do is SELL more weapons as people then understand how good of a defense that guns are.

    January 1, 2013 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Ken

    Of course doctors want to speak out on other topics, as that takes you away from seeing how they are complete failures at medicine to begin with. 652,091 people died from heart disease, 559,312 from cancer and 143,579 from stroke. If Doctors would spend their time and energy focused on getting people to live healthier lives (reduce weight, more exercise, stay out of the sun, avoid toxins that can lead to cancer, that sort of stuff) perhaps they could make a serious dent in these numbers. Only 30,000 or so die from guns last year, around 1/2 by suicide ... and you know those suicidal ones will simply find another way (pills, the easy and painless alternative for most). And as history in the UK has shown us, banning guns leads to other items increasing in use in Homicides (such as sharp objects and poisons at twice the US rates). So out of that 30,000 maybe, just maybe, 3,000 could be saved, tops, if no hand guns existed. That's the reality folks. So stop crying and whining and focus your energies on the real savings .. healthier lifestyles. 1.25 Million deaths per year and you could easily save 50,000 or more a year with just a tiny effort. So get to it!

    January 1, 2013 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
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