DRGO versus Anti-Gun Pseudoscience

(from associationavh.com)

(from associationavh.com)

[Ed: This is the first of three presentations DRGO gave at the 2018 Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago. Dr. Brodale is DRGO’s Outreach Director.]

Year after year DRGO has brought to light the bias the mainstream medical establishment has against the right to keep and bear arms and the supposed medical research which that bias encourages. This creates a false image that all of medicine and all doctors think in the same way.

This reached a new low as medical researchers are incorporating political affiliation in their research, attempting to associate President Trump’s supporters with drug abuse.

A recent article by James S. Goodwin, MD and colleagues, “Association of Chronic Opioid Use with Presidential Voting Patterns in US Counties in 2016” tries to make this connection.

There are more than a few problems with that:

  1. A “respected” medial journal published an article that had nothing to do with medicine. It was completely politically driven.
  2. They attempted to associate a societal problem, drug abuse, with the President of the United States before he was even elected. Was this somehow evidence for their assertion that Republicans are deplorables?
  3. Donald Trump won the majority of votes in 85% of U.S. counties. This makes it nearly impossible not to associate counties Trump won with anything even fairly common in the U.S.
  4. This epidemic of drug abuse started during the Clinton administration and grew during the first and second Obama administrations.

So what does all this have to do with guns and the Second Amendment?

  1. If they can discredit the Trump administration, they think they can put their gun control plans back into action after the next election.
  2. They make the same sort of associations with their “gun violence” research, taking a problem in society and associating it with something that isn’t the problem. They blame what they call “gun violence” on inanimate objects (guns) instead of associating crimes to the criminals.

Let’s look at another example of that:

Anupam B. Jena, M.D., Ph.D. is a professor at Harvard Medical School. Most people, including physicians, would consider this a reputable source and someone to listen to. At DRGO, we recognize that firearm research coming out of Harvard Medical School will most likely have an anti-gun rights agenda. But moreover, a published letter like this does not receive the peer review and scrutiny to which actual research articles are subjected. Yet it was presented as such and will be seen by many, especially the mainstream media, as real science. Dr. Jena’s letter, “Reduction in Firearm Injuries during NRA Annual Conventions”, asserts that experienced firearms owners are a problem in firearm injuries.

Here is Dr. Jena’s logic:

  1. 80,000+ NRA members go to the national convention. During that time these gun owners are not using, cleaning, practicing with their guns.
  2. He asserts that, those gun owners who go to the NRA national convention are more experienced gun owners
  3. He then measures accidental gun injuries presenting to E.D.s nationally before, during and after the national convention.
  4. He uses data from only one national insurance company.
  5. He finds that the overall number of accidental firearm injuries presenting to the ER goes down for the week of the NRA convention as compared to the week before and after.
  6. He concludes that those experienced gun owners must be getting injured during these other weeks but not while they are attending the NRA national convention.

Here are the flaws:

  1. There is no information whether the injuries in any of the timeframes were NRA members or what percentage of the total injuries were members.
  2. We know that there are at least 100 million gun owners in the US. Only 6 million are NRA members and only 80,000 of those went to the convention. So less than one 1/10 of 1% of gun owners were at the NRA convention that week, which was barely more than 1% of NRA members.
  3. He only used data from one insurance company to make his estimations.
  4. Yet Dr. Jena still comes to the conclusion that experienced firearm owners are dangerous because . . . he wanted that conclusion, that’s all.
  5. The problem is that this is all about perception, just like Mark Walters and KD said yesterday. Here is a Harvard Med School professor presenting what appears to be research, and the public and mainstream media perceive it as the truth.

These are the types of issues that we at DRGO expose every day. Patients believe that because physicians are well educated and trained, they will be right most of the time. They don’t realize that most physicians receive no training about guns and gun safety.

Our mission at DRGO is to serve as a guard against biased, policy-directed pseudoscience that would hinder gun ownership under the guise of legitimate science. And we are proud to be here with all of you who also work daily to keep our civil rights from being taken away by the anti-gun crowd so prevalent in society.


Sean Brodale, MD— Dr. Sean Brodale is a family practitioner in Iowa. He is pursuing the right to carry in hospitals for eligible medical personnel. At DRGO he is involved in membership and public engagement projects.

All DRGO articles by Sean Brodale, DO