[Editor’s note: This article by Jane Orient, M.D., the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, summarizes the problems inherent in the public health community’s longstanding politically motivated attempt to reframe firearm injuries and deaths as a public health problem. We present it here as a resource for our members and the public: “Gun Violence” as a Public Health Issue: a Physician’s Response, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 18 Number 3 Fall 2013 (reprinted with permission of the editor-in-chief; available at www.jpands.org).]
Jane Orient, MD
Organized medicine is joining with the Obama Administration to demand restoration of funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for research on “gun violence” and to work for legislation that includes universal background checks, on the rationale of improving public safety.
Firearm-related fatalities, which combine gun suicides and gun homicides, are shown to correlate with the “legislative strength score,” defined by gun control advocates. This association holds only for gun suicide, not for homicide, and depends on selection of jurisdictions. Reliance on flawed public opinion surveys, misstatements about the current background check system, and use of emotional, inflammatory rhetoric belie the claim that the case for gun control is supported by “evidence-based medicine.” Continue reading »