American College of Surgeons Wants to Have a Conversation About Your Guns

Prescription No Guns
American College of Surgeons Wants to Have a Conversation About Your Guns
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

USA –  -( The staid American College of Surgeons (ACS) has mostly kept out of the culture wars against American gun owners started years ago by other organized medicine groups.

But now they want to push gun prohibitionists’ political goals, including banning America’s favorite firearms.  And although they will deny it, they don’t want any back talk from freedom-loving Americans.

Surgeons deal with the immediate damage of gun crime, treating victims of gunshot wounds in the emergency department and operating room.  Trauma surgery is demanding, stressful, and risky to the surgeon, who must routinely deal with families of the criminals who are often their patients.  Even more than other doctors, trauma surgeons are routinely dragged into court when treatment results are less than perfect.

So you would think the ACS would have enough work just looking after the interests of their members.  But instead, its leaders want to devote the organization’s resources and political capital to pushing for more gun control.

In March the ACS’s Committee on Trauma held a meeting supposedly to seek consensus among their membership for the leadership’s already-decided agenda to dive into gun control politics.  ACS leaders published an article in March describing their strategy, which involves a bizarre postmodern dismissal of fidelity to the Second Amendment as only one of several possible “narratives.” (The article was originally freely available though now, curiously, has been put behind a paywall. You can get the idea from reading the first page.)

The authors lament that there has been “little change” in the last 50 years in gun policy.  In fact, restrictions have been imposed, as gun controllers get their pounds of flesh where they can, in the name of “compromise”.

But much good has been done. All the states have now passed right to carry laws, and Congress has repeatedly told prohibitionists to back off from their gun control agenda.  It’s telling that the American College of Surgeons ignores these truths as well as the undeniable fact that America is not in the mood to disarm regular citizens in pursuit of the pipe dreams of the elites.

One of the ACS leadership’s ploys, as outlined in the article, is to pay lip service to freedom but to insist that with freedom comes responsibility. This disturbingly Orwellian twist on reality may appeal to ACS members who may be sharp surgeons but not exactly conversant with the facts of gun ownership in America. Let’s do a brief surgical dissection of that little bit of ACS-speak.

Do ACS leaders really think America’s gun owners aren’t responsible?  It is perplexing that the ACS is choosing to beat the drum for gun control now, when firearm homicides and injuries have dropped dramatically and as fatal firearm accidents only continue their 40-year decline.  Gun owners seem to be more responsible than ever.  Two thirds of firearm deaths are suicides; where does responsibility enter that picture?  Perhaps ACS leaders mean the shirked responsibility of the American public to provide better mental health care?

The remaining third of firearm deaths are mostly homicides, with accidents contributing a negligible number.  So is the American College of Surgeons expanding its mission?  Do ACS members believe their surgical skills endow them with some power to teach responsibility to habitual violent criminals?

Toward the end of the article the authors audaciously claim they strive to “Consciously avoid treating firearm injury and firearm injury prevention as a political problem [emphasis added] and avoid discussion in forums that lead to polarized, oversimplified discussions.”  Remember, this article is an official ACS statement distributed in 2014, the year after the ACS issued its nothing-but-political “Statement on Firearm Injuries”.  That statement calls for, among other things, “legislation banning civilian access to assault weapons, large ammunition clips, and munitions designed for military and law enforcement agencies.”

It’s standard hypocrisy for medical gun-grabbers to issue an eye-rolling, handwringing denial of any political motive.  But at the same time their policy recommendations are gun control laws, the kind of doctor’s prescription backed with the threat of government force.  Can it get any more political than that?

My own surgical training consisted of five years of total immersion in nonstop work and learning, and only after I got my MD degree.  First I served two years in an old-school general surgery internship and residency at Case Western Reserve University. Then came three more years of specialty surgical training down the street at the Cleveland Clinic.  For the first two years I mostly lived in the hospital, with clothes, laundry, and meals provided by the training program.  I learned how to take care of the sickest and worst-injured, but I don’t recall any lectures, grand rounds, or textbooks about anything remotely firearm-related.

I’m pretty sure that even with all the changes in surgical training since my internship, doctors still don’t get any training in firearm mechanics, safety, tactics, or ethics.  And yet the American College of Surgeons now holds itself out as qualified to advise on firearm policy, even to the point of vigorously politicking (despite its denial) for the infringement of one of our civil rights.

So here’s a fair assessment of the American College of Surgeons’ decidedly nonsurgical interest in firearm injuries.  The leadership of this organization, like that of so many other medical organizations, is dominated by social activists, and a certain brand of politics is very much on their minds.  These activists know little about firearms (they want to ban “civilian access to…munitions designed for [the] military”?), and worse, they proudly decline to learn.

As they proclaim in their Statement on Firearm Injuries (linked above), the ACS wants laws passed that will ban most rifles designed and made since the Korean War, the modern rifles most popular with Americans.  They want laws against owning “large ammunition clips [sic]”, the kind that come with most handguns made in the last half century.  And the ACS seems entirely unconcerned that handgun ownership for self-defense is explicitly protected under the Second Amendment.

In short, the American College of Surgeons shares the same anti-civil rights prejudice as all the other social activist-dominated medical organizations that are currently trying to destroy the American civil right of gun ownership.  Oh, yes, they want to have a conversation about guns—among themselves.  Your part is to sit down over there and shut up.



—Timothy Wheeler, MD is director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation. 

Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.

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Todd Jaffe MD

As an invasive pain physician who does surgery I am doing my part to stop the spread of gun violence. I am voting out the Democrats and RINO’s and educating my patient’s that they need to buy not just one gun but multiples, a concealed carry gun, a shotgun for home defense, an AR in 5.7 in case the Man decides that they want to confiscate them. I am also giving away Molon Labe stickers so they can get a sense of standing up for their rights. I encourage them to immediately ask for a copy of their records from… Read more »

Wild Bill

Good for you Dr. Jaffe, and welcome to this site. I am sure that there are many good physicians, like yourself, that view firearms in their proper context. Firearms are mere tools, extensions of their user. From Cain’s rock to the Florida dentist/aids patient that was intentionally infecting his patients. Nice to have you aboard Dr., and we look forward to more of your comments.

Mr. Jay

Doctors, I promise you this: My guns are for good. If I ever need to use one against anything with a pulse, it will be to protect the innocent and the law-abiding citizens from hostile aggressors. Do your job, I’ll do mine, don’t even think about trying to disarm me or restrict my rights. With no gun rights, we’d already all be slaves to a truly tyrannical government. It is the fact that just the segment of the US population that ADMITS to being armed comprises an armed force larger than all the armies of the world combined, and by… Read more »

Robert Thomas

Don’t tell the idiots you own any guns and move on to the medical issues. Problem solved.

Mike Mcallister

As with almost all groups it is the elite that think they know what is best for everyone. Doctors in my area don’t ask any questions about guns and they know if they did the people would tell the it is none of their business. Just like the Hollywood elites that go to other countries and trash the US they think they are God or something. They are people that think we care what they say. They are very very wrong!

Lee Cruse

It makes sense. The more gun control the more victims to treat. And, the victims are much more likely to have insurance and money to pay their medical bills. The criminals seldom pay their own bills.


A few decades back the Shock Trauma Physicians in Baltimore City were testifying before a committee on gun control to ban the sale of Saturday Night Specials in the City. They testified that this was the type of firearm used most often in shootings they were treating. Saturday Night Specials were subsequently banned. A couple of years later, those same Doctors were back complaining that the severity of gun shot wounds they were seeing were much worse, because the criminals were forced to acquire and use higher quality firearms of larger calibers and that were more reliable. According to the… Read more »

Jerry Nelson

Does it ever cross the mind of these doctors, how a mortician may feel while doing an autopsy on a 17 yr. old female ? One that’s been beaten , jaw broken, teeth knocked out, raped numerous times and then throat cut. Possibly this might print in their mind and then compare that to surgery for the removal of a bullet. would a thought cross their mind that if she had a gun could she have changed the end result? you’re not supposed to shoot anyone. She would let it go off and shot herself in the process. On the… Read more »

Alan Chwick

Training and education work. See

With education, kids are safe with the firearm. With training, they, and adults, can change the outcome. Is it always 100%? No. But I’ll be damned to not go down without a fight. Be ready, and prepared.

Managing Coach (Ret.)
Freeport Junior Club

Alan Chwick

The American College of Surgeons can ‘Kish Meir Yiddische Tuchus’

When asked any question about firearms and self-defense, coolly & smoothly answer ‘No. I have no firearms. Why in the world would anyone want firearms?’

Jeff Dege

I will listen to advice on gun safety from any medical practitioner who is a certified firearms safety instructor.

Any medical practitioner who would consider attempting to provide advice on firearms safety without training and certification is one I’d not trust on any issue, let alone on firearms safety.

Gene Ralno

I have a suggestion. No conversation.

John Dow

When has any anti-gun entity ever engaged in a “conversation”?


” Gun owners seem to be more responsible than ever. Two thirds of firearm deaths are suicides.” If you have a mental disorder or have a family member with a mental disorder that may result in suicide (depression for example), can you be called a “responsible gun owner” if you or your disabled family member is gaining access to a firearm which he then uses to kill himself? There are a hell of allot more suicides by gun than any other type of death by gun and those who are killing themselves are not criminals; they are our loved ones.… Read more »

Lee Cruse

There are two reasons for more suicides by firearm. One is that people that are serious do not want to linger and have a long drawn death or be kept alive on machines for years. Two, anyone that uses a firearm for suicide is actually reported as a suicide, however, many of the other suicide cases are reported as accidents. Like the one car fatal accident in the middle of the night.


“Perhaps ACS leaders mean the shirked responsibility of the American public to provide better mental health care?” Don’t you mean the American medical community and not the American public?
When the medical community quits protecting their own and covering up malpractice medical deaths then they can preach to me. Until then stay out of my personal life. Police your own first.

Dave from San Antonio

“insist that with freedom comes responsibility”
Yes it does. The biggest responsibility…is to defend that freedom at all costs. The only way we, as Americans, will be able to do this…is to support the 2nd Amendment for without it…all our other rights and freedoms will fall…to a dictatorial government.

Mike Mcallister

Your my doctor my my mother. Stay the [email protected] out of business that is not your’s!!!! Or maybe you’d like the people you practice on to have the right to say if you practice practice medicine or not. Better wake up and start to think about what you want or you may get more than you or anyone wants.

Wild Bill

By tradition, medical doctors have monopolistic control over others that want to become medical doctors. Medical doctors determine educational requirements, examination requirements, residency requirements, and continuing education requirements for those that want to practice medicine. Maybe we could converse about that little monopoly, too, since practicing medical doctors kill so many more people each year than people using firearms do.


Latest study shows medical errors kill around 250,000 per year. Doctors heal your own first.


It’s called the ‘Practice of Medicine’. Their patient’s consent may enable doctors to ‘practice on the body’ but it ends there. Since health care is now government mandated these doctor’s seem to think it goes beyond that. Now doctors with the backing of the government want to dictate ‘firearms law’? I don’t think so!


Show me in the contract where all who serve within our governments, particularly those serving within the general (federal) government was ever DELEGATED the authority to mandate anything. An, no, it is not found within *Article I, Section 8 giving Congress the power to “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare.” Understanding that those who serve within our government are not “the” government. They are placed there – elected, hired, contracted, etc – to carry out specific put-into-writing duties, and are allowed to use the “powers” delegated to the three branches and to some specific named-in-writing offices/positions while they… Read more »

Tommie Thompson

And yet! While they have NO legal power to mandate, they do it and get away with it because the “People” allow it.