Yesterday, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates passed anti-liberty resolutions surpassing what we anticipated just two weeks ago as we covered its planning. You can read about it on AMA Wire and MedPage Today, outlets that uncritically regard the AMA as the fount of all medical correctness. Even the Associated Press wrote that the “physicians group bowed to unprecedented demands from doctor-members to take a stronger stand on gun violence”.
But it didn’t—less than one quarter of the nation’s physicians join the AMA. Its positions do not even represent all its members, let alone the vast majority of physicians who don’t belong. The vote of 446 to 99 suggests that fewer than 80% of AMA members may favor these positions. Less than 20% of total audience support is not, shall we say, statistically significant when it comes to mass movements.
The AMA, like most medical specialty organizations, does not ask those it purports to represent what it should do. Its leadership tells us what we ought to believe. This attitude has worsened over the decades as it has taken more sides politically on subjects irrelevant to patient care or physicians’ needs, such as how to insure health care and advocating gun control under the guise of “public health”. That’s why it no longer represents America’s doctors.
To summarize, roughly, from most to somewhat less objectionable, the AMA now stands for:
- Required training courses and licensing of all gun owners, and registration of all firearms.
- Banning ownership of “all assault-type weapons, bump stocks and related devices, high-capacity magazines, and armor piercing bullets.”
- Banning sales to, ownership and unsupervised use of all firearms for 18-20 year olds.
- Keeping schools “gun-free” except for law enforcement, and opposing requiring or providing incentives for teachers to carry weapons.
- Stopping nationwide concealed carry reciprocity.
- “Red flag” laws permitting family and household members, intimate partners (including dates) and law enforcement to seek firearms confiscation as well as restraining orders.
- Adding to the National Instant Background Check System the subjects of all domestic violence restraining orders and gun removal orders, and misdemeanor domestic violence and stalking convictions.
- Enhanced training of physicians in suicide risk assessment and intervention, encouraging them to discuss lethal means prevention with families.
There is more, although these are the high (or rather, low) points. The magnitude of these goals is mind-boggling when their full implications are considered.
Licensing all gun owners and registering all their firearms would create the database needed to confiscate them as more types of firearms may be declared illegal.
Banning “assault-type weapons . . . high-capacity magazines, and armor piercing bullets” is manipulative obfuscation at its worst. The most popular rifle in the United States, whose form merely follows function (and is used in maybe 1% of shootings), ordinary magazines that have been legally sold and possessed in the millions for decades, and bullets of all sizes that transfer the energy required for effective impact would all be outlawed.
18, 19 and 20 year olds are legal adults in every other respect. Why not as gun owners?
Barring “incentives” for school districts and teachers who want to protect their pupils could preclude paying for training for those that realize the necessity of affordably armed, qualified staff. Believing that just labelling schools “gun-free” protects our children is delusional.
Nationwide concealed carry reciprocity is simply what is deserved by the legions of exceedingly safe, legal concealed carriers across this nation. No more, no less.
“Red flag” laws passed thus far in a number of states have such minimal due process protections for this constitutional right that their abuse will be too easy. Adding their subjects, and those accused (not convicted) of domestic violence, to the NICS would impose on thousands more people the Herculean task of clearing their NICS prohibitions after being absolved of unproven accusations.
Training physicians to better evaluate risks of dangerousness in patients is all to the good, until one realizes that the focus will still be to convince them to reject gun ownership as an irredeemable sin.
Anyone who is familiar with good research knows that 99.9% of the time legal gun ownership and use is safe, rewarding, and strengthens the safety of families and communities. Anyone who can read knows that the Constitution’s Second Amendment unequivocally protects that individual right. Most physicians know these things, too.
“Noblesse oblige” is a principle that has long demanded that the more fortunate and capable contribute in large measure to the welfare of those less so. The AMA used to be exemplary in this way, as nearly all physicians still are. But on gun-related matters, organized medicine has lost its way. For the AMA, noblesse oblige has mutated into “the conceit of the anointed” (from Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as the Basis for Social Policy).
The basis for the AMA’s positions against guns and gun owners is, simply, because they say so. We say no, and can back that up.
So who are you going to believe?
Reality, or their own lying “ayes”?
— DRGO Editor Robert B. Young, MD is a psychiatrist practicing in Pittsford, NY, an associate clinical professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.