Why the NRA Is Blocking Obama’s Surgeon General Nominee

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Vivek Murthy
Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next US Surgeon General, prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination. February 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

This post originally appeared at The Nation.

The post of the surgeon general has been vacant since July and it looks likely to remain that way for some time thanks to a strident campaign led by the National Rifle Association and libertarian Senator Rand Paul against President Obama’s nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy.

Murthy has medical and business degrees from Yale, works as an attending physician and instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School and has founded several health businesses and nonprofits. He has also expressed support for limited gun safety measures like a ban on assault weapons, mandatory safety training and limits on ammunition and so the NRA has declared it will “score” his confirmation vote, putting pressure on Senate Democrats running tight re-election races in red states to block Murthy’s confirmation. As The New York Times reported, the White House is “recalibrating” its strategy towards Murthy’s nomination, meaning the Senate vote will either be delayed or never happen.

This isn’t the first time the NRA has held up a nominee: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives went without a director for seven years because of opposition from the gun lobby. But never before has the group set itself so strongly against a surgeon general nominee. So why now? The NRA said Murthy’s “blatant activism on behalf of gun control” attracted their attention.

But the gun lobby’s campaign against Murthy isn’t really about his record, or him at all. His positions on guns are hardly radical or even activist and his views are consistent with those of the majority of Americans. Polling indicates that the public is far more supportive of new gun control laws than members of Congress or, certainly, the NRA.

Furthermore, Murthy’s views represent a consensus among medical professionals that gun violence is a major public health issue. Gun violence, including suicide, kills some 30,000 Americans every year, about the same number as car accidents. Cars are highly regulated for health and safety; guns, barely. Accordingly, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among many others, have called for stronger gun safety laws. It would be surprising if, as a doctor, Murthy did not have concerns about gun violence and the strength of current regulations.

The campaign against Murthy is the continuation of a longstanding effort to make discussion of gun violence taboo. For years the NRA has worked to bury information about gun violence and its public health implications.

With public health professionals engaging more forcefully on the gun issue, the NRA has a pressing interest in muting their calls for stronger policy. Really, the campaign against Murthy is the continuation of a longstanding effort to make discussion of gun violence taboo. For years the NRA has worked to bury information about gun violence and its public health implications. The NRA has campaigned successfully to ban registries that collect data on guns used in crimes and in 1996 the group fought for and won legislation that froze federal funding for research on gun violence. Although Obama lifted the restriction last year in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, there’s still very little money — federal and private — for gun research and not enough data, said David Hemenway, an expert on injury at the Harvard School of Public Health.

On the local level, the NRA has tried to bar pediatricians from counseling parents about the risks of keeping guns at home. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that doctors begin to talk to parents about gun safety even before their baby is born and continue the conversation yearly, just as doctors talk to parents about the dangers of swimming pools and the importance of bicycle helmets. Florida passed a gag law in 2011; crafted by an NRA lobbyist, the bill forbids doctors from “making written inquiry or asking questions concerning the ownership of a firearm or ammunition by the patient or by a family member of the patient.” A district court ruled the following year that the law restricted physicians’ rights to free speech and the case is now in the appeals process. Murthy’s opposition to pediatrician gag laws was one of the reasons cited by the NRA and Rand Paul in their attempt to disqualify him.

When she ordered a permanent injunction against the Florida law in 2012, District Judge Marcia Cooke wrote that the law “in no way affects [Second Amendment] rights” and instead “aims to restrict a practitioner’s ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient.” The same can be said of the NRA’s objection to the Surgeon General nominee, who won’t be involved in crafting gun policy. The threat to the NRA is that the surgeon general will merely talk about gun violence, in fulfilling his or her duty to provide the public with “the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce their risk of illness and injury.”

While the NRA’s political clout comes from its individual members, the group serves the agenda of gun industry. What’s really going on with Murthy’s confirmation is that an industry group is trying to keep the government from regulating its products. This isn’t a new battle: the tobacco industry fought it, as have many other industries with financial interests in evading health and safety regulations.

What’s really going on with Murthy’s confirmation is that an industry group is trying to keep the government from regulating its products.

“Most industries try to protect themselves — the less regulation the better, the less oversight the better. They want to pursue their sales,” said Hemenway. “I think it’s almost time for a surgeon general statement about guns, like we had with cigarettes and cancer, particularly about guns and suicide.”

While the industry’s goals aren’t exceptional, its success at evading regulation is, said Kristen Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center. “Guns are a consumer product. We’ve taken a public health approach to reducing product-related injury for every other product, from automobiles, to toys, to airplanes. Every product is regulated from a health and safety perspective with the goal of reducing accident and injury. The only exception is guns,” Rand said.

Murthy’s assurance that he does not intend to use the surgeon general’s office “as a bully pulpit on gun control” failed to appease the NRA. Perhaps appeasement is the wrong tack. The only way to curb the gun industry’s outsized influence is if people like the surgeon general do talk about gun violence and advocate for more research and data, not less.

“The surgeon general’s role is to educate the public about how to live healthier, safer lives and one of biggest injury-producing mechanisms in America today are guns. It’s obviously an area where he should be involved,” said Rand. “What the NRA fears is having someone with a bully pulpit who has solid information and is giving people the facts. The NRA fears information.”

Democrats also need to stand up for freedom of speech and information. The midterm map presents a real challenge, as the Senate races most important to Democrats are in deep red states — Louisiana, Arkansas, Montana, Alaska — where public opinion on gun control is far more conservative than it is nationally. Still, it’s far from clear that the NRA’s endorsement is worth groveling for. The NRA can easily whip up hundreds of gun owners to flood Senate offices with calls expressing outrage over Murthy’s nomination, but there is some evidence that the group’s electoral influence is much less significant than its effect on policymaking and nominations. According to a statistical analysis conducted by Paul Waldman in 2012, “The NRA has virtually no impact on congressional elections. The NRA endorsement, so coveted by so many politicians, is almost meaningless. Nor does the money the organization spends have any demonstrable impact on the outcome of races.” [Emphasis his.]

Zoë Carpenter is a reporter in The Nation’s Washington, DC, bureau. She has written for Rolling Stone, Guernica and the Poughkeepsie Journal. An Oregon native, Zoë studied writing and environmental politics at Vassar College.
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  • Anonymous

    This should not be about gun control. This should be about the fact that Obama has put forward a clearly unqualified candidate to pay off a political debt to him. Murthy has never even run a department in a hospital and Obama wants him to run the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Podunk General Hospital wouldn’t have this guy as a department head but Obama likes his Doctors for Obama group. What a joke.

  • Blaine Holzer

    Obama cannot get his anti-gun agenda passed by congress – so he will try to promote it in any way he can. He and Biden (and Feinstein, etc.) would like to ban all guns. They would like to have the whole country be a “gun free zone” . That’s not “paranoia” – that’s the TRUTH. Guns in the hands of honest law abiding people is not the problem. The problem is guns in the hands of black gangs in the inner city war zones. THAT is what drives the “gun death” stats through the roof. (Google “gun murders by race” and see what the US CDC has to say about it). I don’t know how to solve that problem – but it is emphatically NOT disarming the good guys! In my state of Florida 1 in 14 folks carry concealed. Florida has NOT become the wild west! Crime against persons is decreasing year by year as concealed carry is increasing year by year. The author has got things absolutely backwards.

  • ranlin

    Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy looking forward to you as the US Surgeon General! Thank You for the courage to speak on an issue everyone keeps dodging,namely, gun violence/control. In memory of those beautiful children slaughtered (to name a few) Columbine High School April 20, 1999, Amish schoolhouse on October 2, 2006, elementary school on December 14, 2012…http://www2.sandyhookpromise.org/ let’s keep educating our BEAUTIFUL country on those things that matter to ALL of us!

    Thank you President Obama on leading with integrity!

  • POA

    “Thank you President Obama on leading with integrity!”

    Exactly when did the integrity part happen?

    You should educate yourself (as opposed to listening to the Liar in Chief) on the real issues of gun violence. The truth is not hard to find if you want it. Be warned though, all the popular kids at your table won’t like it. Which is exactly why you won’t do it.

    Please tell us more of your “informed” opinion though.

  • Anonymous

    A quick look at Murthy’s resume confirms what Feltre says!

  • Anonymous

    It’s human behavior not weapons that is the problem. Psychopathic mass murderers can always come up with ways to kill innocent people; vehicles , incendiaries, improvised explosives and even box cutters.

    Likewise bans on semi-auto “assault weapons” like Murthy advocates are likley to be as successful as the 1920-1933 ban on another consumer product that the majority of people used responsibly was.

  • Anonymous

    Murthy’s qualifications are more political than professional. So it should not be a surprise that those who are opposed to his left wing nanny state agenda are calling him to account for his political actions and stands!

  • williamdiamon

    Actually, doctors mistakes cost more lives than firearms.

    This from Wikipedia:
    Injury’s:
    A 2006 follow-up to the IOM study found that medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes, harming at least 1.5 million people every year. According to the study, 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur each year in hospitals, 800,000 in long-term care settings, and roughly 530,000 among Medicare recipients in outpatient clinics. The report stated that these are likely to be conservative estimates.

    This from mercola:
    Deaths:
    Even at the lower estimate of 225,000 deaths per year, this constitutes the third leading cause of death in the US, following heart disease and cancer. If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic (resulting from the activity of physicians) causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000.

    I guess when they say they’re “practicing” medicine, they really mean it.

    So lets ban doctors too.

  • williamdiamon

    Our murder and crime rates are reaching a ONE HUNDRED year low. But NOW guns are the problem?

  • jlkansascity21

    Cars are indeed regulated, but then there is no constitutional protection for car ownership. So that’s not a good comparison. This is a pretty one sided article.

  • Anonymous

    my Aunty Amelia got a new blue Land Rover
    LR4 only from working part time off a home computer… helpful hints F­i­s­c­a­l­P­o­s­t­.­ℂ­o­m

  • pointofgrille

    AND, Doctor’s skill and knowledge save millions of lives. Health care is not an exact science and illnesses are not carbon copies of there illnesses.
    AND, no one points a doctor at another human being and pulls the trigger.
    Your points are not relative to the discussion……..just points, and for your information: Drs. prescribe medications and rarely administer the medication. The great majority of medication errors are made in incorrect dosage, medication, or administration.
    Next time you have a medical emergency go the GUN STORE for help.

  • pointofgrille

    Please provide the specific details of “Obama’s anti-gun agenda”. There is no such agenda! A responsible gun ownership platform is NOT anti gun.
    Florida not the wild West, but a dangerous place to see a movie, buy skittles and a soda, or be a kid black kid, without a gun, who gets in an argument with an old white dude…or a little kid who finds a loaded gun under a car seat and shoots himself. Yeah, responsible gun ownership is the solution. How about arguing against irresponsible gun ownership as much as you argue about a phantom anti gun agenda by the President.

  • pointofgrille

    Absolute BALDERDASH!

  • williamdiamon

    Guns save lives too.

    Yes, “no one points a doctor at another human being”, that’s true. They are killed by mistakes. Mistakes are made because of ignorance. Ignorance can be corrected with knowledge. Murder is caused by evil. Show me a law that can correct evil.

    The point is their mistakes can be corrected and reduced. Criminals and murderers don’t care. The doctor should consider addressing an issue he can effect, instead of propagating a political view just to get a cushy job.

    “Next time you have a medical emergency go the GUN STORE for help.” “Now your point is not relative to the discussion.”

  • pointofgrille

    Yeah, educated at Harvard and Yale. On staff Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Physician and Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical school……….unqualified???? And your qualifications to judge medical competence are?

  • Blaine Holzer

    If you think Obama doesn’t have an anti-gun agenda you are simply uninformed. There is nothing “phantom” about it.BTW – Zimmerman shot your little angel (the black “kid”) in self defense as he was bashing Zimmerman’s head into concrete. Perhaps you didn’t follow the details of the trial. Accidental gun deaths are very sad but extremely rare. A lot more kids drown to death – I don’t see a big deal made about pool safety by the left wing – why not do you suppose?

  • pointofgrille

    Bashing his head into concrete. So that’s how he got that scrape . Your facts are not correct. Zimmerman is still a loose cannon and kept his guns thru 3 conflicts with family involving weapons and threats. It’s not responsible policy to allow a George Zimmerman to continue to have guns when he demonstrated his inability to comprehend the safe handling of a weapon.

  • Anonymous

    Yes..very unqualified. The Surgeon General is not just a teacher. The Surgeon General is not just an attending physician. The Surgeon General is the head of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and holds the rank of Vice Admiral. He commands over 6500 medical personnel who can be dispatched to health emergencies in very short notice. He needs some medical administration experience, chief medical officer of a major hospital preferred but at least head of a major department. Murthy is a well trained doctor and a politician, but he doesn’t have the experience for Surgeon General.

  • Blaine Holzer

    Obama fully subscribes to Senator Feinstein’s “assault weapons” ban – how about that one! That – alone – would outlaw the most popular sporting rifle sold in the US in addition to most of the semi auto handguns that are sold. But, of course, that’s just the beginning. He does not believe ordinary citizens should have guns. PERIOD! Besides, why should anyone believe ANYTHING that man says – he only tells the truth if it suits his political machinations – which is not very often. BTW – I don’t care about Zimmerman. You, apparently, have just adopted the knee jerk liberal stance without looking at the evidence the jury considered in voting not guilty.

  • moderator

    Blaine Holzer and pointofgrille:

    This is an issue that brings out a great deal of passion. It looks like you will have to agree to disagree. Please move on.

    Thanks
    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    pointofgrille and Blaine Holzer

    This is an issue that brings out a great deal of passion. It looks like you will have to agree to disagree. Please move on.

    Thanks

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Blaine Holzer

    I agree. I’m sure neither of us will change our minds any time soon. I appreciate your moderation.

  • pointofgrille

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Zach Soya

    How many lives guns save, when fired at a human?

  • Anonymous

    Whenever you hear terms like “gun violence” and “gun homicide’ you know somebody is trying to mislead you. The real problems are violence and homicide, it doesn’t matter whether they are committed with guns or knives, vehicles and incendiaries. Murderers and violent criminals will use whatever means are available. If they don’t have guns they will substitute some other means. The so-called “public health model” fails because it views the guns as the problem rather than the violent individual!

    “Medical professionals” have a right to their own opinions but they have about as much expertise when it comes to curtailing criminal violence as criminologists have in delivering babies and performing heart bypass operations!

  • Tired of stupid people

    william where do you live? Surely your not the stupid? Low I think not. Try living a night in the Bronx NY or anywhere for that matter and tell me you didn’t hear a gunshot ring out. Better yet go spend the night in the ER and come out telling me no shots were fired on anyone!

  • Tired of stupid people

    Paturious I do hope your being scarastic on the Wiki being right thing. You do know that wiki is writen by anyone and not a professional and can be altered/changed by anyone. Or are you so literate regarding the working of the web?

  • Tired of stupid people

    I am sorry ranlin I was with you up to the part of the “Thank you President Obama on leading with integrity!” You should have just left it with the good Dr and not brought that part into it. I can not comment now.

  • Tired of stupid people

    Blaine I beg to differ as I too live in the land of the walking dead…Florida. Guns are out of control even in Sarasota and Bradenton. Also this state is full of “red necks” and they are the gun tooting fools around here not the blacks. Color has nothing to do with guns. I grew up in the Bronx NY and let me tell you more crime in St Pete then the Bronx and I was the only “white” family in the area yet we were safer there then here. So don’t throw color into it or I will bring the red necks out and we can duke it out. Heehaw or what ever they talk.

  • Tired of stupid people

    Point I differ with you also. Color has nothing to do with it as bullets know no color..people do. I will agree Florida is not the wild west but is not the safe haven most think it is. I do agree its the owner of the gun that has to be blamed here not the president/surgeon general, etc.

  • williamdiamon

    I carry on the advise of my father. It turned out to be good advice as it saved the lives of 8 people in an interrupted attempted armed robbery one night.

    So, it depends on the incident and how many people you are trying to protect.

  • williamdiamon

    The proper response, when someone is shooting at you is to shoot back. You will need a gun for this. It is also the only way to protect an innocent, If you care as much about people as you think you do. If you do not have a gun, call police. Why? Because they have a gun. / Reread paragraph until it sinks in.

  • williamdiamon

    The data and facts displayed at wiki, like anywhere else, can be easily researched and verified. I have verified their content on this issue and you should too.

  • Blaine Holzer

    The only reason I brought color into it is the there is an extreme difference in gun murder rate to consider. No one mentions this because of political correctness. If you take the inner city black gangs out of the picture then the US is a very peaceful nonviolent place with a lot of people carrying concealed weapons. Something like 72% of counties have a ZERO gun murder rate. In Chicago (for example) you have very strict “gun control” but a gun murder rate through the roof. It slants all the statistics so that America as a whole appears to have a “gun problem”. It doesn’t – it has an inner city gang problem. That is where the lion share of “gun violence” happens – and it is ALREADY against the law there for these criminals to carry and use guns. They do it anyway and peaceful law abiding folks in other parts of the country are blamed.

  • Anonymous

    Murthy finished his residency less than eight years ago. He has never held a major administrative post with a medical school, hospital or the Public Health Service. Those are pretty thin professional credentials for somebody to be Surgeon General especially when you compare them to past Surgeons General. it’s readily apparent that his main attraction for Obama is political not professional!

    I don’t claim any special qualifications to judge Murthy’s “medical competence” but as a lawyer with wide experience and having done graduate level work in four different disciplines I am totally qualified to judge the sufficiency of his administrative experience.If you insist on medical qualifications my uncle, a Harvard Medical School graduate, who has served as president of his state’s association and chief of staff of one of the state’s largest and best hospitals, agrees completely with my assessment!

  • JonThomas

    Sorry, but yours is a specious and sophistic argument.

    The means of injury and death do matter. They matter a great deal! For one, gun shots are FAR MORE lethal than a flailing knife fight. Unless you are a knife fighting expert, or sneak up on a person to get within arm distance (requiring premeditation) more likely than not the attack results in injury, not death.

    Unless of course the country gets overrun by deadly, knife-throwing ninjas!

    The type of violent action from any weapon, other than a gun, requires EXTREME determination. Violence using a gun is quick and clean. It needs no other thought or malice than pulling a trigger.

    When you enter a confrontation either with, or against a knife, you face the prospect of an opposer. When you have a gun, you are the one with the power, there is no opposing balance to slow down either your action or your intent.

    A “public health model” which takes the effects of certain weapons into consideration is EXACTLY the correct course of action to provide a full understanding of issues relating to violence and it’s affects. Look at the statistics for violence in other nations. The nations which take the type of weapon into consideration have far fewer deaths from acts of violence.

    “Medical Professionals,” especially coroners and medical examiners, have MORE expertise into injuries than any other profession in society! To say that their findings and opinions have little to no merit is ridiculous!

    I am not against guns in general, BUT I am against illogical and simplistically false agenda pushing reasoning meant to dishonestly persuade an audience.

  • JonThomas

    Ok, let me see if I can keep up with your circular logic…

    You say guns saved lives by threatening to take lives against people who had guns to take lives, who were threatened by people who had guns to take lives, by being threatened to take lives, by people who had guns to take lives….

    Wait… I get it! If no one had guns, no lives at all would have been threatened! Brilliant, I agree!

  • williamdiamon

    You seem really confused. Sleep on it.
    Are you suggesting no lives would be lost in a society without guns? 100,000,000 gun owners and 9,000 murders with guns. This ratio of 100 to .009 shows criminal use of guns to be an anomaly, not a constant. What is a constant in murder is crime and evil, this has existed since Cain. WAKE UP.

  • JonThomas

    Ahh… straight up apologizism seeking to afford excuses upon your desires.

    I didn’t suggest anything, so there’s no use trying to strawman me with false syllogisms.

    What I did was simply point out the circular logic excuse you made for guns being allowed in society. As I said in another comment on this article… I’m not against guns or gun ownership, but if you are going to post comments which make no sense at all, you aren’t helping your case.

    If you want to be earnest, then look at other societies which do have tighter gun restrictions and make the falty comparison you just tried to make.

    Of course crime and violence has been around a long time. But gun violence is more atrocious and more deadly than any in history.

    If you want to get rid of this ‘anomaly’ as you call it, then get rid of guns. Again, I’m not saying that is the best way to go or not, but your use of reasoning and logic is self-defeating.

  • POA

    No.. You know nothing about me and I could careless about Rand.

    Don’t you have a gun show to go to?

  • Anonymous

    You just hate guns and gun owners. According to the most recent Gallup Poll some 47% of American households own guns. This amounts to somewhere around 100 milllion Americans. Clearly those who commit crimes with guns are a very tiny minority of these people!

    Is there any other group you smear so viciously because of the actions of a minority? Racial groups, other nationalities, religions etc? A smarter, healthier and more adult approach is to concentrate on those who actually commit crimes or act irresponsibly as opposed to smearing millions of decent law abiding citizens because of your biases!

  • Anonymous

    Murthy has the right to say whatever he wants but that does not mean he has the right to be confirmed as Surgeon General if most of the Senators believe he is unqualified or don’t like is political positions!

  • Anonymous

    You are making the unwarranted assumption that guns are only used defensively against others who have guns. In other words to use your philosophical terms you have set up a straw man.

    Of the four incidents involving people I know who used guns or had guns used on their behalf to defuse a threat, none of the assailants had guns themselves. They were instead depending upon superior strength or numbers!

  • Anonymous

    J.T. ,
    The problem is not circular logic but rather you straw man hypothesis. Many assailants do not have guns. Typically a 275 lb. man attacking a 120 lb. woman does not need a gun nor do a band of thugs attacking a single man!

    If you really want to be earnest why don’t you compare the homicide rates (not just gun homicides but total homicides) of different countries and American states. You will find that stricter gun control laws do not translate to lower murder rates.Some States like Utah, Idaho and Wyoming with few restrictions on firearms for example have low homicide rates whereas California with some of the strictest laws in the nation has much higher rates. Culture appears to have far a far greater effect. Germany, Austria and Switzerland with similar cultures have almost eh same murder rates desist having very different gun control laws and rates of gun ownership.

    As for getting rid of guns, think about the last time we tried to ban a product that most people used responsibly because of the misuse of that product by a minority. Prohibition was a miserable failure and gun bans would not fare any better!

  • Anonymous

    JT,

    You are peddling more red herrings than a fish monger. The advantages guns enjoy as weapons do not negate the phenomenon of substitution of means. It’s also interesting to note that guns enjoy a greater relative advantage as defensive weapons than as offensive weapons. Firearms are less useful to attackers who can utilize surprise and select victims who are weaker and less numerous. Potential victims typically do not have these options.

    More to the point comparing just “gun homicide” or “gun violence” can provide a distorted picture of how dangerous a society is. Cutting
    down on “gun murders” accomplishes little if murders by other means make up the difference. Total homicide and violent crime rates provide a far more accurate picture.

    The “public health model” is flawed both in terms of its accuracy in representing the dangers of gun violence and on the philosophical
    viewpoint that underpins it. The guns themselves are not the problem. It is rather the very small minority of owners who use them carelessly or to commit crimes. It is unfair to the vast majority of responsible gun owners to punish them for the misdeeds of a few. One infuriating irony that I have noticed is that all too often those pushing gun control are the same ones who don’t have the stomach to adequately punish the criminals who misuse guns!

    Finally while “Medical Professionals, especially coroners and medical examiners, (may) have MORE expertise into (firearms) injuries than any other profession in society” that does not mean that they know any more about the behavior that causes such injuries than “Joe Sixpack”! Reading Vivek Murthy’s letters to Joe Biden and to Congress, it’s readily apparent that he knows little of psychology, criminology, law and politics all of which are more relevant to the prevention of crime and accidents than medicine!

  • Anonymous

    Using your logic the First Amendment would provide no protection for the broadcast media and the internet.

    Oh and by the way a lot of us prefer AKs to ARs!

  • Anonymous

    Sheila did you read what I had to say? I am judging the man’s administrative experience not his medical competence! Are you questioning my uncle’s medical credentials?

    What does John Ashcroft have to do with this? If you look at his resume by the time he was appointed AG he had been Missouri State Auditor, Assistant Attorney General, Governor and US Senator! What has Vivek Murthy done in the medical field that would compare to that?

  • Anonymous

    Sheila you are attacking Feltre rather than what he ash to say! Feltre is not the issue Murthy’s qualifications, or more correctly the lack of them, is the issue.

    Study Murthy’s resume and compare it to the resume of past Surgeons General and then tell us why Murthy is anywhere near to being in the same league with them as far as administrative experiencing is concerted!

  • Blaine Holzer

    Oh PLEASE! You’re over simplifying the situation in the extreme. BTW – mass shootings happen in countries with very strict gun control as well (Germany, for example). Fortunately, they are very rare. It has NOTHING to do with “gun control” laws. [Please reread my comment above - it's not too bad a thumbnail description of the national "problem" if I do say so myself]. If someone is killed by lightning do you say that there is an “epidemic” of lightning strikes in the US? Or that something tragic and very rare has happened?

  • Anonymous

    Great comment, 33Charlemagne! Truly one of the best I have read on this site. If only more people would open their eyes and turn on their brains, we would not be losing our freedoms so rapidly.

  • Bob Jones

    red states are the top 10 in violent crimes. a few of those red states are predominantly of the minority race aka whites, yet low brain cell folks will still declare those states HIGH violence is to be blamed on non whites when simple math, oh never mind this amount info gunna amek your head explode

  • jl89996g

    You seem blissfully unaware of history. The second amendment was written to counter the British army, and had nothing to do with slavery. Along with the second amendment, several others were in response to British actions; most notably the third amendment, and to a degree the fourth also. Actually, the Constitution pre-dates the Civil War by quite a bit so I don’t see your connection.

  • Anonymous

    I belong to the Gallup Poll program and haven’t heard of the “latest poll” about guns. Musta missed that email and snail mail bulletin.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the link. But, their are 34% that own firearms and, to me, that is too many. I feel that some of that percentage should not have guns legally for any reason. I gave mine up over 30 years ago and have not missed them, but I do like my baseball bat. It’s quiter.

  • rfkolbe

    Guns get the job done better than most available weapons. There is no denying that. IT IS THE guns and semi-automatic with high powered ammunition that belongs on the battlefield not on our streets or in our homes. The number one weapon in mass shootings is the semi-automatic handgun. FACT

  • rfkolbe

    No you are making things up. Nobody hates gun owners, we hate stupidity and a lack of common sense.

  • Anonymous

    rfkolbe,

    You are making a faulty assumption. It is the people not the guns that are the problem. A murderous psychopath with no guns and a little imagination is a whole lot more dangerous than a decent law abiding citizen with an entire arsenal. Guns are not the only “efficient” weapon for mass killings consider that a number of Australian mass murderers have used arson, the worst school killer in American history used explosives and Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer.

    Likewise you know little about guns. Even if you could do so (think about how ineffective Prohibition was at stopping alcohol consumption) banning semi-automatics would make little difference. Double action revolvers, lever action rifles and pump shotguns are almost as fast as their semi-automatic counterparts and they have all been around since the 19th Century!

  • Anonymous

    rfkolbe,
    You have clearly not read all the comments on the internet that I have. Plenty of people scape goat decent law abiding gun owners for the criminal actions of killers and psychopaths. In addition plenty of gun control types resort to spurious personal attacks on Second Amendment supporters.

    Finally the uninformed and sophomoric are prone to mistake beliefs contrary to their own as “stupidity and lack of common sense”! Consider for a moment that the studies done after the expiration of the Clinton “Assault Weapons Ban” failed to show that such a ban (the gold standard of gun control measures) had had any significant effect on crime!

  • Rosa Lee

    Nobody is trying to ‘ban’ guns! Just a little common sense to do stricter background/mental health checks, stricter control on assault weapons that should be for the battlefield and some reasonable control on the amount and types of ammunition. It doesn’t matter the issue these days, there seems to be no middle road, no give and take, no compromise….just name calling. There has to be a middle ground somewhere between ‘banning’ guns and doing nothing!