OP-ED

What Is It With Gun Rights Proponents?

Art Caplan 2Why are they so afraid of public health types who want to do something about the carnage caused by guns in America?

Vik Khanna is the latest man with a gun to write squealing in terror  before the kale crunching, fitbit wearing hordes of public health types who he is somehow sure are out to disarm him and, even more hilariously, have any chance of doing so.

Vik, buddy, no one and especially the roughly 28 folks in public health not completely distracted by their lack of funding and inability to secure tenure is capable of doing anything that will pry your gun from your warm-blooded grip. There is no political movement to take away anyone’s guns. The NRA is the mightiest lobbying outfit in these United States and the best Mike Bloomberg or Bill Gates are going to be able to do is to get the anti-gun lobby a few more op-eds and soundbites.

Vik stop being afraid of your critics. You hold all the bullets er … cards. Time to think harder. Do public health folks have anything to offer that might reduce the mayhem while letting you hunt deer or shoot partridge or blast targets or whatever it is you and your son like to do with your guns?

Well yes in fact there are some things from the minds of the unarmed weenies of public health worth your consideration and that of your open-carry pals.

How about encouraging doctors, ministers, sporting goods salespeople and other community leaders to learn about and then talk about gun safety? How about greater efforts to get gun owners to lock up their guns and ammo properly. How’s about getting hunters to wear the right high-visibility gear. Is there any merit to making guns safer including ‘smart’ guns? Can we teach people to call the cops when they know there is a gun in the house of someone who is mentally ill or under a restraining order? A little training for kids about what to do if they find a gun?

I could go on but I have to walk out to my Prius so I can go to the store and buy some gluten-free pasta to feed a few of my public health pals before we do our evening Bikram yoga. I won’t be seeing you at the shooting-range. There are too many kids gripping Uzis there for my comfort. Oops Sorry. Didn’t mean to make you think I was gonna try and restrict any 9-year-olds right to fire automatic weapons.

Art Caplan heads the Bioethics program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a contributor for THCB and NBC News.  

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Matt Thimgan
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Matt Thimgan

All you’ve accomplished Dr. Caplan is help prove “higher education” dose not equate to common sense, logic, or sadly even respect and courtesy. Suggestion: Why not get to know one of these pro gun individuals that you demonized so pathetically? Go to a range and experience a little of what they have come to enjoy? A little respect for your fellow citizens even the 5 million members that are the NRA would go a long way in understanding despite your education.

LarryArnold
Guest

[“Can we teach people to call the cops when they know there is a gun in the house of someone who is mentally ill or under a restraining order?”] Right. Call the cops and report “crazy person with guns.” Now google and see how many times families call about UNARMED mentally ill people, and the cops end up KILLING them. Instead of SWAT “therapy,” how about providing support and treatment with real therapists. [How about encouraging doctors, ministers, sporting goods salespeople and other community leaders to learn about and then talk about gun safety?] I’ve been teaching gun safety classes… Read more »

darrenlobo
Guest

The problem is that gun rights haters look at how people are hurting others & think they see the solution there. Since a good percentage of crimes are committed with guns they strangely think that if guns are illegal that 1) no one will have any & 2) the murder rate will go down. This is ridiculous. The US, with the most guns, has a murder rate below the world average. the key to lowering the murder rate is in thew why. As in why do murderers choose to murder. Solve the socio-economic problems & end the war on drugs… Read more »

cassierina
Guest

“There is no political movement to take away anyone’s guns.” Oh really?

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/09/nj_gun_buyback_programs.html

“What N.J. really needs is mandatory gun buybacks”

Right, Art. Nobody wants to take them, huh? Just, you know, force you to sell them.

DrDavid
Guest
DrDavid

Dr. Caplan’s response to the original article was arrogant and insulting, while providing no substantive rebuttal to any of the points made.

Surely Dr. Caplan can do better than that. Or can he?

Scott
Guest
Scott

a couple points – 1st, the end-game for “gun-controllers” is no guns except for the police (of course, Ferguson MO is an example of that). Sometimes they admit it, most time they refuse to go there. 2nd, all this discussion is MOOT. The right to arms is a HUMAN right, an individual right, that doesn’t need the 2A to exist. In fact, in 1876 the SC said just that. In US vs Cruishank the court said the 2A protected a “pre-existing” right (ie the right wasn’t “granted” by the Constitution since it already existed). Before the Civil War the SC… Read more »

Rusty Shackleford
Guest
Rusty Shackleford

Why stop with the 2nd amendment? Bullies are using the 1st amendment to torment children. Terrorists are hiding behind the 4th, planning their next attack. Criminals refuse to talk to police officers, exercising the 5th. The public is forced to pay for lawyers for criminals because of the 6th. If we repealed the 7th nobody would be forced to serve on juries. The 8th is preventing us from punishing child molesters the way they need to be. The tenth amendment makes it very hard for federal policies to be implemented. . .

TyrannyOfEvilMen
Guest
TyrannyOfEvilMen

Dr. Caplan: Step away from the candy bar! For the sake of public health. A gun does not kill any more than a fork makes you fat. As others have stated here, forks kill far more than firearms every year. In fact, apparently forks are such good killers, they are putting guns to shame.

What my guns mostly do is lie around in the safe all day. In fact, they are so damn lazy that I’m beginning to suspect that they may in fact be liberal Democrats.

Maxwell
Guest
Maxwell

Demonstrable liar, non-working link. NEXT?

bird
Guest
bird

Wow what a thread! Withthe fact that Art has more chins then a chinese phonebook maybe someone should pry the donut from warm pudgy hands and turn his attention to something that does impact health.

jack burton
Guest

What is it about doctors who insist upon giving advice in areas that they are in no way qualified to do so? I’d bet I could ask Caplan 10 simple, factual questions about firearms and he would get 12 of them wrong. For a more mature look at the question, “Is the damage to society from the misuse of guns worth the freedom to have guns?” read http://hub.me/adOMK And as far as his “public health buddies” this is what you need to know about their willingness to lie and falsify the data to make their political views come out on… Read more »

556x45
Guest
556x45

thanks for engaging in the conversation, Dr. Caplan! Your willingness to engage those who disagree with you in the comments hasn’t gone unnoticed!

wfeather1940
Guest
wfeather1940

His propensity to lie hasnt gone unnoticed either!!

Stu Chisholm
Guest

Why is it that so many doctors and degreed professionals are so woefully ignorant on firearms and, worse, that they feel that the alphabet soup following their names QUALIFIES them to address a topic which they’ve recieved ZERO training on beyond what Hollywood “teaches” everyone? Riddle me this, Dr. Caplan: what organization does more to train people on gun safety and field more gun safety instructors than any other organization in the world? (HINT: It’s NOT Sarah Brady; it’s not Michael Bloomberg; it’s not the VPC. Take your time. You’ mentioned them earlier, albeit in not the same context.) The… Read more »

steve
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steve

Because it is a public health issue. Lots of people die from GSWs. Also, I will be glad to pass on to other docs the idea that we know nothing about guns. The local guy who was an Olympics skeet shooter is going to be very surprised. I would note that this will cause some real issues as we carry this out to its logical conclusion. . I have never had cancer, so I now I wont be able to take care of patients who do. I have never had appendicitis, so I guess this folks will just have to… Read more »

Stu Chisholm
Guest

“Lots of people die from GSWs.” Indeed, but far more die from falls, blunt objects, edged weapons/cuts and automobile accidents. It’s one thing to have studied how to treat a GSW and another to pontificate on the reasons why they happen. This is true of your doctors treating cancer: they have studied it specifically — it’s not an “experience” issue. I, too, know plenty of champion shooters. They can tell you all about their gear, optics and the discipline involved in good shooting. What most CANNOT tell you is the reasons crime happens, because they’re not CRIMINOLOGISTS. I repeat: most… Read more »

steve
Guest
steve

Poor logic does lead to poor conclusions. Since I suspect you would agree that most people committing suicide, or most people who die from accidental GSWs are not criminals, it makes no sense to have only criminologists study injuries and deaths by GSWs. It would also make sense to allow us to fund such studies.

Stu Chisholm
Guest

Indeed, suicides make up over 60% of all “gun deaths” each year. So should doctors focus on the method employed or the reason WHY the person wanted to die in the FIRST place? Seems to me that you’re a mental heath professional and looking at a GSW, then you’re too late to the scene. (And the same doctors will be treating the wounds and/or coroners performing the autopsy.) Ditto for accidents. Doctors study injuries. Criminologists explore WHY the bullets are flying in the first place. Not a tough concept to follow here, is it? Honestly, I wish more doctors DID… Read more »

Davis Thompson
Guest
Davis Thompson

Next time, before releasing the snark Kraken, Dr. Kaplan might want to lean a little about the topic at hand. He writes: “How about encouraging doctors, ministers, sporting goods salespeople and other community leaders to learn about and then talk about gun safety? How about greater efforts to get gun owners to lock up their guns and ammo properly. How’s about getting hunters to wear the right high-visibility gear. Is there any merit to making guns safer including ‘smart’ guns? Can we teach people to call the cops when they know there is a gun in the house of someone… Read more »

Davis Thompson
Guest
Davis Thompson

The original post and follow up were intelligent, and professional while the response here was childish and snarky. That right there speaks loudly. I wish Dr. Kaplan was correct about no one coming for our guns, but I live in New York. In New York a rifle that was perfectly legal in December 2012 is now illegal because it has a $5 pistol grip on it. New York’s governor was the one to say “confiscation (of so called assault weapons) is on the table.” Senator Dianne Feinstein famously longed for the ability to take away every so-called “assault weapon” (the… Read more »