Surprise: Physician Group Rehashes Same Tired Gun Control Policies


Physician Doctor Researcher
Surprise: Physician Group Rehashes Same Tired Gun Control Policies

Fairfax, VA – -( Everyone has hobbies. Some doctors’ collective hobby is opining on firearms policy. Half of the articles in the “Latest from Annals” email from the Annals of Internal Medicine journal are related to firearms.

The most prominent of these articles is a position paper written by the American College of Physicians (ACP) that expands upon their 2014 paper and reflects every anti-gunner’s public policy wish list, save for the outsized role given to doctors. The ACP’s policy recommendations include a ban on semiautomatic firearms and “high” (read: standard) capacity magazines, licensing and permitting requirements, improved reporting to NICS, restrictions on concealed carry, and so on. None of the ACP’s policy recommendations focus on law enforcement or the importance of identifying, prosecuting, and incarcerating criminals. As Philip J. Cook notes in his commentary, “It is unfortunate that the public health community has not recognized the importance of policing gun violence as a key aspect of prevention.”

Language matters, and the ACP “favors enactment of legislation to ban the manufacture, sale, transfer, and subsequent ownership for civilian use of semiautomatic firearms…” They refer to the targeted firearms as “assault weapons” only in parentheses, and the word “rifle” only appears once in the entire document: in the appendix, specifically in a section about 3-d printing a rifle receiver. Does the ACP support a handgun ban? We know that the American public opposes a ban on semiautomatic rifles and a ban on handguns. The ACP proposal for a ban on semiautomatic firearms certainly looks like it would apply to handguns, and they acknowledge that increasing the minimum age to purchase semiautomatic firearms to 21 is “an interim step toward a complete ban…”

The ACP claims that their policy recommendations are “based on an analysis of approaches that the evidence suggests will be effective in reducing deaths and injuries from firearm-related violence.” They want physicians to “advocate for national, state, and local efforts to enact legislation to implement evidence-based policies, including those recommended in this paper…”

The problem is that the ACP cites “studies” that wouldn’t qualify as “evidence” in any other debate. One cited study was focused on a single rural county in Iowa. Another was of 106 outpatients at a single clinic. The authors acknowledge evidence is limited but cite their own belief there is “enough evidence” or simply argue the policy should be enacted anyway. Inconclusive evidence is not “enough evidence.” Applying narrow findings to a larger population is not “enough evidence.”

The ACP’s misuse of evidence isn’t limited to a ban on commonly owned firearms.

They claim the RAND Corporation found “evidence suggesting that increasing the minimum purchasing age for firearms could decrease the suicide rate.” RAND actually found that the only discernible effects of minimum age requirements for purchasing a firearm on suicide were relegated to children and the evidence was limited. The effects of minimum age requirements on total suicides is uncertain because the evidence is inconclusive.

The ACP claims that a “growing but limited body of evidence…suggests the concealed-carry laws may create a greater risk of firearms injuries and deaths than any protective value they may provide.” Most of the research on this topic is poorly done and clearly designed to produce a predetermined result. As with other policy areas in this position paper, the authors should have consulted the RAND literature review. RAND found that shall-issue concealed carry laws have uncertain effects on total homicides, firearms homicides, robberies, assaults, and rapes. The evidence is inconclusive, but the American College of Physicians has no qualms about accepting works that violate many of RAND’s most important criteria.

The ACP wants to require gun purchasers to undergo an “educational program” before they can obtain a firearm and they support universal background checks, which would necessitate a licensing and permitting system as well as a registry of firearms and owners. This ignores the RAND Corporation’s finding that evidence on the impact of licensing and permitting regimes on firearm homicides and total homicides as well as total suicides and firearms suicides is inconclusive. The ACP is apparently only interested in pseudo-science “evidence” that supports their preferred anti-gun policies.

This position paper leaves one wondering if the authors reviewed the evidence, or just found works that suited their needs. For all of the bluster about their own important role in the anti-gun movement and all of the misuse of research findings, the ACP makes one thing clear: they respect their own rights and opinions far more than they do those of law-abiding gun owners.

The ACP’s first recommendation acknowledges their support for building coalitions of different perspectives on the firearm issue but makes no mention of firearms experts or lawyers. Health professionals and “injury prevention experts” are listed first and second. Their second recommendation holds that “state and federal authorities should avoid enactments of mandates that interfere with physician free speech.”

If only the ACP had the same sort of respect for the 2nd Amendment. The authors claim that the individual right to keep and bear arms was established by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court affirmed that right. That’s the sort of mistake one can expect when anti-gun doctors talk to themselves instead of lawyers or gun policy experts.

National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit:

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The author is citing from a position paper, which written to make recommendations to other doctors. The NRA should not be attacking doctors in this way and should instead get together with the doctors and make them realize that they should be focusing on the people that may (in a lot of the cases) have mental issues and how we as a society can better identify and treat/ help these people to prevent gun violence ,and possibly other types of violence that may create with autos, bombs, poison. We get rid of the tools (in this case -guns) but the… Read more »


This is what the NRA should be discussing with the doctors – how do we handle these people when things come up like this. It’s not the guns – it’s who’s pulling the trigger. Or driving the car. Or sending the mail bombs. This is what the NRA should bring up to these doctors when they express their misguided opinions about gun violence. They’re not looking at the whole picture. And us 2A people do not help matters by attacking doctors. This is a battle we don’t want to get involved in. I thought the NRA was a bout education.… Read more »

willy d

@wildbill; Thankfully I’m now retired, but as far as my family doctor that I don’t see to regular have had a good relationship for over 40 years, in his practice which has several doctors, he always sees me and none of the others have ever seen me! When he does see me his First question is, Has your opinion changed since the last time I saw you, and my answer is always the same, You guys always burry your mistakes! After that he always says At least I know where I stand with you, then he askes what my problem… Read more »


What do you call a doctor that graduates last in his class? Doctor. We would all be better off they would concentrate on keeping people alive rather than attacking guns to take the pressure off the fact that they kill more people than guns do.
I have run into several in the past few years that shouldn’t even have a license and I don’t understand how they stay in practice, possibly bilking insurance companies. Yes we are expected to be patient while they are practicing. What a crock.

Charles Moore

See my comment/reply below. Doctors nearly killed me three years ago AFTER stating/admitting that there was nothing to tresat me for! Lost over 75lbs. of muscle (207lbs./ little to no fat to 130lbs. and as weak as a 4-year-old IN 5 MONTHS!!) Still not fully recovered, nerve damage causing weakness in extremities, etc., that is taking a long time to overcome. Can’t do much to build strength and endurance until the nerves are able to send the right messages! I have gotten much of my mass back, but not the strength. Had 20″ biceps before, probably 13″ – 15″ now.… Read more »

A.x. Perez

Doctors see people coming into ER’s with bullet holes. They don’t know why they got shot. I’m willing to cut them a little bit of slack for wanting to “do something” an=bout the problem. However, this report supports doing the wrong things.

willy d

My question about the medical people ranting about gun control is, they go through medical school, internship, then they are given a license to practice medicine? I drove a truck for years and with that I had to be certified and tested to do that job along with every 4 years I had to be tested, finger printed, and a back ground check to haul Hazardous Materials, this was just to drive a truck? I’m sure there are others out in the real world that go through the same nonsense, but doctors are given a license to PRACTICE MEDICINE???????

Wild Bill

d, Truck drivers probably kill fewer people than physicians, per annum. Truck drivers do not presume to tell the rest of the people in this great nation what they need and don’t need. And I am willing to bet that truck drivers are not fooled by some hokum studies, either!


acp, stick it up your a**

Ronald Nuxon

I would expect any group of physicians, when analyzing causes of violent behavior, to focus on psychotropic drug use, diagnoses of mental disorder or anything else within that purview. So when they stray into gun control policy, you know it’s all political.

Missouri Born

Graveyards are full of people who went to their doctors and took their advice.

Charles Moore

Homicides per year, approx. 10,000 to 12,000 (not all involve the use of firearms and objects such as hands/feet, hammers, knives and even scissors INDIVIDUALLY account for more than ALL types of rifles combined). Medical “misadventures” (a diversionary euphemism for “doctors screwing up”) run between 300,000 and more than 400,000 in a typical year. Where does the greater danger to society and humanity lie?? Fix your own house’s roof and foundation before you start commenting on your neighbors doorbell button.


You are more likely to die by the hand off a member of the AMA than a member of the NRA.

Wild Bill

More Americans die from medical mistakes, annually, than from the combined efforts of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, in four years of war. So I have read.


I think doctors should be charged criminally for malpratice deaths of patients. we need to write laws and have that strictly enforced. That way these criminal doctors are sent away rather than only suffering civil issues which an insurance company pays out on. Stay away from my legal firearms before I start pushing hard for your criminal doctors to be charges.


Is this the same group of people that kill 250,000 every year with mistakes? Doesn’t give them too much credibility.

Raymond Clark

To bad we – the gun owning public – can’t boycott doctors (or can we ?.


Doctors have a license to kill. We need more doctor control. There is no accountability. They police themselves like cops and lawyers. Negligence and arrogance kill more people than we will ever know. Medical malpractice kills more people every year than firearms do. Police yourself before you come after someone else.

James Andrews

Exactly, and they also have no right to deny citizens OUR God given rights either!