AJPH ‘Smart Gun Study’ a Transparent Exercise in Junk ‘Science’ Agenda Propaganda

By David Codrea

ScreenHunter_04 Jan. 25 13.40
These are the “findings” from Bloomberg apparatchiks with advanced degrees that have the media acting like they’re citing a credible study. (American Journal of Public Health)
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- “More than half of handgun buyers would consider ‘smart’ guns: Study,” NBC News triumphantly advertises. “Smart guns: 60% of Americans would buy one,” Medical News Today echoes.

And it’s not just that the public is clamoring for them like they’re hotcakes, there’s also the added citizen disarmament lobby bonus of kicking around the National Rifle Association.

“New data bucks gun industry claim, finds US majority supports smart guns,” the technology news site ArsTechnica proclaims. “NRA lies smartly exposed: The truth about consumer demand for life-saving smart guns,” rabidly anti-gun The New York Daily News gloats.

Could there be an actual “Gotcha!” in here somewhere?

First, let’s consider the source, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. That’s “Bloomberg,” as in Michael Bloomberg. And while ad hominem arguments are generally considered unreliable logical fallacies, a prudent reviewer of claims will keep motives and incentives in mind.

That means we can’t exclusively rely on a press release that summarizes findings published in the American Journal of Public Health. Nor can we conclusively ascertain study validity from the AJPH abstract.  What we actually need is the study itself, which, unfortunately, requires APHA membership, a subscriber sign-in, and an access fee.

Fortunately, I have some contacts who managed to get hold of a copy of the report.  No, I won’t tell you from whom, and I can’t just post it without running afoul of the copyright and getting sued, but I can give some select insights and fair use quotes that anyone with access to the study can use to ensure representations made here are accurate.

The first thing that strikes anyone interested in reality is what the media is presenting to the public as settled science is published under the category heading of “AJPG Editorial.” It’s an opinion piece!

Did any establishment “news” outlet tell you that?

As for its major premise, there’s a quote I borrow on occasion from author Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow”:

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

In this case, the stud… uh …editorial asked:

If you were to purchase a new handgun, how willing would you be to purchase a childproof gun that fires only for authorized users?

They’re assuming the gun would, in fact. fire when needed, but their question is essentially similar to what was posed in the supposedly-“debunked” National Shooting Sports Foundation survey. That one asked “How likely would you be to purchase a gun with smart gun technology that prevented it from firing except for specific authorized users?”

The thing is, NSSF included additional considerations, telling respondents “such firearms would incorporate biometric or radio frequency identification (RFID) with an activation system that would rely on battery power.” In other words, different conclusions were the result of different survey parameters, not due to some nefarious industry cover-up plot, as is being implied by the rub-it-in media.

But it’s not like they have any interest in fairly presenting NRA and NSSF positions.  Those are, respectively:

The NRA doesn’t oppose the development of “smart” guns, nor the ability of Americans to voluntarily acquire them. However, NRA opposes any law prohibiting Americans from acquiring or possessing firearms that don’t possess “smart” gun technology.


The National Shooting Sports Foundation does not oppose the development of owner authorized technology for firearms and, should such products come to market, individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to purchase them. However, we do oppose legislative mandates that would require manufacturers to produce only such firearms…

It’s the gun-grabbers who have introduced gun ban edicts requiring “smart guns.” That’s where the political opposition comes from. And it’s lying “progressives” who equate calling “Foul!” on such mandates with being obstructionist Luddites.

As “First do no harm” is a fundamental principle taught to all health care students, it’s fair to ask how the authors of the AJPG opinion piece applied the maxim to their published work, and if they had any motives beyond the stated ones of injury prevention and saving lives. It’s especially fair since nowhere do they acknowledge that there may be a downside to “smart guns,” and that they may instead contribute to negative outcomes, especially if devices that complicate mechanical functions lead to performance failures in times of need.

Maybe the authors have never had a garage door opener or TV remote fail to work instantly.

But just as physician qualifications to prescribe one-size-fits-all “safe” gun storage practices ought to be questioned, so, too, should their expertise and competence when it comes to stumping for “smart guns.” After all, even though we know these folks have prestigious specialized education and experience, they’re not experts in everything. If your car was making a funny noise when accelerating, it’s doubtful you’d take it to one of them for a diagnosis.

So if we’re going to listen to the Johns Hopkins/Bloomberg “experts” on guns, it’s fair to ask “Who are these guys?” What do they know about gun design and manufacture? What do they know about defensive gun use? If we’re to accept them as subject matter experts, what certifications in either field have they achieved?

First we have Julia Wolfson, Ph.D Candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It looks like she’s specialized in “dietary patterns and behaviors,” and has even been a chef!  Not to mention an assistant to the New York Civil Liberties Union Legal Director, meaning it’s a pretty safe bet where her political sympathies lie, as the fundraiser for Obama she participated in shows.

Next we have Stephen P. Teret, JD, MPH.  He’s a lawyer. He’s a policy wonk. Whether he knows more about guns than NRA trained gunsmiths or more about gun use than certified NRA Instructors is not demonstrated anywhere in his CV. At least we know he’s “competent” at upping untold health, injury and death risks — both to enforcers and to gun owners who will not comply with being disarmed — what with his advocacy for making “certain guns and ammunition clips illegal.” (And if calling magazines “clips” doesn’t scream gun expertise, what does?)

Smart Guns
Smart Guns

Joining the team is Shannon Frattaroli, Ph.D, who among her many other significant achievements, besides being able to pontificate on residential sprinklers (whether she can install them is another matter), is a Delta Omega Faculty Inductee, as well as recipient of many other teaching and policy awards, none, unfortunately in defensive gun usage. She does, however, lend her support to anti-gun forums that include the likes of Democrat VA Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and gun-grabbers Josh Horowitz and Lori Haas.

It would be hard to argue with Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, Sc.D., if the subjects were either internal medicine or medical oncology. But that’s not what the subject is here, is it? Likewise, Deborah Azrael, Ph.D, must be a whiz at whatever a Ph.D and M.S. from Harvard and an undergraduate degree from Harvard-Radcliffe allow you to be a whiz at. You know, stuff like co-authoring a letter to The Washington Post with Matthew praising Hillary Clinton‘s gun policies

The abandonment of medical ethics in order to achieve political goals is an old phenomenon for those who monitor such things, as noted by Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D., in his landmark “The Perversion of Science and Medicine (Part III): Public Health and Gun Control Research.” It’s what resulted in funding being withheld from Centers for Disease Control anti-gun political advocacy (not on legitimate research).

“Smart gun” market demand “findings” that the anti-gun media is mindlessly parroting are simply more Bloomberg-funded propaganda penned by shameless political hacks with advanced degrees. Anyone trying to tell you otherwise agrees with his citizen disarmament / monopoly of violence agenda.

David Codrea in his natural habitat.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and also posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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Jerry? You mean trumped? The mandating for federal and state law enforcement was my idea, ha ha!


The hoplophobes are fond of bemoaning the 33,000 deaths they say are caused by guns every year. But they never seem to mention the other side of that coin, which is that guns are used defensively between 500,000 and three million times per year, usually without a shot being fired. And those figures are from the Center for Disease Control (hardly a pro-gun organization). A little simple math will tell us that guns do more than fifteen times as much good as harm.


Jerry, above, is on to something. Maybe all police departments, state police and all federal LEO’s should be mandated to use smart guns before foisting them on the public.


To reiterate what codrea posted on his blog, where are the anti gun professionals to defend their prohibitionist views?!?!?!!? Are they too scared to respond to Codrea and the above doctors? C’mon over – Bloomberg can’t buy you courage!


Let’s counter propose that the firearms must be mandatory for all law enforcement and watch them squeal in response. Secret Service, FBI, ATF, etc – I would love to see gun banners put in that box.

George Pace

Usually you can get a copy of any paper, even those behind pay walls, by writing the corresponding author and asking for a copy. I did that, and she sent me a copy 11 minutes later. Corresponding author Julia Wolfson’s email address is: [email protected]. A lot of people could get their own copies and then let her know some of the problems with her “reasoning” and “data”. Of course that won’t help with the mass media propaganda machine grooming the sheep…

Street Survivor

Smart gun technology. Smart for whom ever controls the internet ,cell phone, kill switches. I wouldn’t touch a so called smart gun. Won’t buy any modern weapon cause you need a key to make it function. And no one ever in my 59 yrs ever polled for my opinion. Besides I only buy weapons that were made in 1891-1983.Plastic belongs on toys not guns. Give me an M1A/ M14 any day. Keep you’re Tommy Mattel AR-15.


If a medical speciality in oncology confers firearms expertise, does a degree in Professional Gunsmithing give me the ability to treat cancer?


If these “smart guns” are so good, how come the military and law enforcement will not employ “smart guns”?


They also polled liberal, non-gun owners.


60% of Americans polled by Bloomberg, who do not own guns, know absolutely nothing about guns, never intend on purchasing a gun, say that if they were ever to consider buying a gun, the speculation being solely for consideration of the question posed for this poll, they may consider a smart gun. Almost half of these people questioned outright disqualified smart guns for consideration. (99.999% of knowledgeable gun owners told the surveyor they wouldn’t even consider responding to Bloomberg’s survey question and to stick their smart gun up their a$$!!!


Good job tracking this down. Ugh – yet another gun banner using “clips” instead of magazine. It really is appalling how ignorant they are of very basic info.

Timothy Wheeler, MD

It is telling that the actual published paper in the American Journal of Public Health is behind a rather steep paywall. The publishers get lots of free publicity at great value for their political message about so-called “smart guns”. But any serious critic who wants to refute the study encounters barriers, being stuck instead with relying on the media’s polished and spun version. This amounts to what political observers would call a “dirty trick”, i.e., an unethical political maneuver intended to disadvantage the opposition.

Timothy Wheeler, MD
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
A Project of the Second Amendment Foundation


Smart guns have nothing to do with safety, as far as the government is concerned. Smart guns have everything to do with the same control the government has, by mandated law, controlling your smart phones, GPS location record and remote shut down capabilities! As far as reliability, YOU ARE EXPENDABLE! (This whole POWER STRUGGLE of incremental citizen disarmament, called “gun control”, for the INSISTED deception of OUR safety, HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH US BEING VIEWED AS THE ENEMY, AND THEIR OPPONENT, IN A GUERRILLA WARFARE SCENARIO)k


There are presently something like 350 million stupid guns (as opposed to smart guns). Nearly all of them will still be operable (if decently maintained) in 2145.

The first time somebody’s Mom dies because her smart gun wasn’t smart enough, somebody else is going to have to start looking over their shoulder all day every day. Gun grabbers may be evil, but they aren’t stupid.

At least, I hope they’re not THAT stupid…

R. B. Young, MD

The anti-gun mafia habitually report “studies” that are simply the latest way they can think of to frame an argument against gun ownership. Cherry-picked data, interpreting correlation as causation, and presenting the trees as conclusions instead of the forest are all tactics repeated time and again. They also intentionally ignore the public health benefits of gun ownership, most significantly the well-confirmed enormous number of times each year that firearms in citizens’ hands protect lives. No public health analysis is fair or accurate considering only the damage and costs that occur. It must also include the damage and costs that do… Read more »

Sean D. Brodale, DO

Well John, as a ER physician and gun owner, my question would be, would these “childproof guns” be as effective as child proof caps on medicine bottles? I have seen many children who have gotten into medicines, and end up in my ER, and nearly all of them had “childproof” caps on them. Living in the northern half of the country I must wear gloves much of the year, can the gun read my fingerprint through my gloves? It appears this public opinion poll is nothing but opinion and certainly not science. If the technology had yet been proven to… Read more »

Uncle Elmo

Beware, the ‘expert’s’ opinion. In my neck of the woods, we’ve got a guy that has fought ANY logging on public land for over 20 years. His original ‘expertise’ came from hiking the Pacific Crest Trail when he was a young southern Californian. He soon after moved to northern California and started an advocacy group with his girlfriend, and together they began appealing every Forest Service timber sale that their time would allow. In the ensuing years, he’s gotten a PhD in fire ecology and has hooked up with a couple of other environmental activists with advanced degrees. In the… Read more »

John Edeen, MD

As a doctor and a gun owner, I find this type of “research” disingenuous and deplorable. The question asked should have been : Would you risk your life and the lives of your family on a smart firearm equipped with unproven technology such as fingerprint identification or RFID? Our smart phones often have hard time reading fingerprints and they do not have to hold up to the repetitive concussion of a contained explosion mere inches away. What if your hand with the RFID is injured and you need to use your non-dominant hand to operate the firearm. Will it work?… Read more »