By Timothy Wheeler, MD
Last week came first a flurry of denials and defiance from Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, MD, culminating in his resignation under a cloud of scandal.
Then from Portland congressman Earl Blumenauer came a report outlining steps to reduce “gun violence” by using (cliché alert!) a public health approach.
Rep. Blumenauer’s announcement, which offers absolutely nothing new, would have been in vogue in about 1995, just before the public got wise to this ploy for advancing gun control in an increasingly gun rights-affirming nation. What has gotten into Oregon’s leading politicians, or more accurately, the people who elected them?
Blumenauer’s report, platitudinously titled “Enough is Enough”, starts out with a cherry-picked media bit about a fatal firearm accident involving a two year old child. Such tragedies are rare and becoming rarer, but in the best bloody shirt-waving tradition Blumenauer rallies gun control activists to the cause by implying that they are common.
The main points of his plan of action include mandating universal background checks (soundly rejected by Congress in 2013 despite President Obama’s and his congressional allies’ full-on efforts), authorizing and increasing gun “research” (how many times must we debunk this myth?), “controlling access to the most dangerous products” (re-instituting the 1994 Clinton ban on so-called assault weapons, which never was shown to reduce crime), and regulating firearms as consumer products (a dream of gun prohibitionists since the 1970s). And no gun grabber’s wish list would be complete without “empowering health professionals”, which is to say pressing doctors into service as gun control advocates to their patients, an abuse of professional privilege and an ethical boundary violation.
Blumenauer is no doubt playing to his hoplophobic urban constituency with this grandstanding move. Portland voters have sent him to Congress since 1996, the glory days of gun control, and he has seen up close the ongoing shift in American public opinion toward firearm freedom. And since America elected the new Congress last November specifically to check an alarmingly belligerent assault on all our freedoms, Blumenauer must know his plan will go nowhere in Congress. Its only value is to demonstrate once again that gun prohibitionists have not given up the ruse of public health as just another excuse to prohibit gun ownership by good Americans.
—Timothy Wheeler, MD is director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.