What to Do When Your Doctor Asks About Guns

Have you had the experience of going to your doctor for a particular problem, let’s say headaches, and been surprised by the doctor asking you about a completely unrelated subject—whether you have a gun in your home? It’s no accident that doctors’ or health plans’ questions about guns in your home have become routine. In the 1980s and 1990s medical professional organizations declared a culture war on gun ownership in America. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) developed an official ...
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Life, Faith & Death: The Massacre at Emanuel

The horror of a delusional murderer suddenly killing 9 people who had welcomed him into their Bible study the evening of June 17 is unimaginable. The misuse of this tragedy to beat the drums of commentators’ biases and agendas is all too recognizable. Those good, doomed people of Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina seem to have been among the best humanity offers. Some of them, including their overworked pastor, stayed late to hold their regular Bible study. An awkward, perha...
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Dug-up Disinformation from the Violence Policy Center

Memories are short. The constant flood of global news pouring from the internet, blessing though it may be, hasn’t helped the public sort the gold from the garbage. Let’s remember all the way back to last week, when numerous news outlets gave the Violence Policy Center (VPC) some entirely undeserved coverage for disinterring and dusting off a manufactured controversy about defensive gun uses (DGUs) that was laid to rest eighteen years ago. If today’s fresh-faced reporters knew anything ab...
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A Real Conversation About Guns

A couple of weeks ago, a heartfelt academic liberal relative got curious about my writing on gun issues. He asked some meaningful questions when he realized that maybe the answers he’d always heard weren’t the whole story. I thought I’d share our exchanges, since they touch on many mistaken ideas about firearms, their meaning and our right to them. Let’s call him Hal: (more…)
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Demon Rum and Devil Guns

The strategy of public health gun prohibitionists has long been to convince Americans that guns are “dirty, deadly, and banned”, as former Centers for Disease Control official Mark Rosenberg once said. We have yet another example of advocacy research toward this goal with a new article in Preventive Medicine from University of California-Davis anti-gun researcher Garen Wintemute. His article “Alcohol Misuse, Firearm Violence Perpetration, and Public Policy in the United States” aims to provi...
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News Flash: Kids Are Traumatized by Violence!

Too many studies break no ground by confirming ideas that seem obvious. Now science is supposed to work by carefully examining possibilities and demonstrating whether what is hypothesized is or isn’t actually true. Unfortunately, not all studies are science. Let’s look at one published June 8 in Pediatrics, “Violence From Weapons Affects One in Four Kids”, by Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD et al from the University of New Hampshire, funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prev...
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Feeling the Need to Carry a Gun

Sociologist Jennifer Carlson’s May 26th op-ed in the Los Angeles Times recaps her excellent book, reviewed here and further discussed here by my colleague Dr. Robert Young, investigating why men feel the need to carry guns. Her queries reached deep into cultural and economic reasons that men carry. My own reason was far more primal—survival. To the degree I had thought at all about arming myself for self-defense, my fallback position had been that if crime was so bad that I needed to arm ...
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