For new arrivals, I’ve been writing to “news” outlets and the writers of published gun-related misinformation. Call it education or calling them out on lies, I’m trying to correct bad reporting. Mostly, I an simply ignored, which indicates they know they’re wrong, and are disseminating BS deliberately. Once it’s clear that the outlet/writer is not interested in allowing facts to run, I’ve been posting my attempts here.
Today’s entry is a little bit different.
A focus on gun safety – not control – leaves 2nd Amendment intact
Our civil rights are under attack, and have been for some time. The freedom to assemble etched out in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is under attack by the Second Amendment — and it shouldn’t be. Jason Aldean’s concert was a peaceful assembly ravaged by a lone gunman who, for all intents and purposes, had the right of gun ownership.
What is it with doctors lying about firearms issues lately? 744 words of misdirection and falsehoods. I sent a proposed guest column of 721 words to rebut. To the Orlando Sentinel’s partial credit, they didn’t ignore me completely, as usually happens.
They told me to pare it down to 250 words or less and they’d consider it for a Letter to the Editor.
I couldn’t do it. There were too many Levy lies for 250 words. I got it down to 444 (remember, even my original column was shorter than Levy’s offering), by leaving out some specific references, and using more abbreviations and… not-so-great grammar.
They turned it down. So here it is.
Doctor Marc Levy’s October 27, 2017 column, “A focus on gun safety – not control – leaves 2nd Amendment intact,” is as lacking in candor as the very column title, suggesting that delaying and infringing on rights somehow protects them.
In bringing up the Dickey Amendment and tying it to research, Dr. Levy implies that the amendment stopped federal funding of firearms-related violence. Just to be clear, this is false. The federal government funds much firearms-related violence research. As one recent example, there is “In-State and Interstate Associations Between Gun Shows and Firearm Deaths and Injuries: A Quasi-experimental Study,” primarily funded by the NIH.
Levy attempts another bit of misdirection in noting that Obamacare has a provision that prevents the collection of information on firearms. I’m sure that a doctor in Florida is well aware that Medicare/Medicaid sidestepped the law by implementing a rule requiring doctors to use Electronic Medical Records software, produced by nongovernmental agencies, which include questions on patient access to firearms in the intake questionnaire. Any doctor with Medicare/Medicaid patients will be asking that, while the CMS innocently proclaims, “WE aren’t requiring it.”
Dr. Levy also appears to be a fan of “universal background checks” (more accurately called preemptively-prove-your-innocence”), so that criminals and other prohibited persons could not obtain guns. He avoids the little problem that most firearm-equipped criminals already obtain their weapons unlawfully, and that the Supreme Court’s HAYNES decision upholds
criminals’ Fifth Amendment rights to not self-incriminate by reporting their unlawful activity; i.e.- criminals cannot be required to undergo background checks.
Levy mentions “assault rifles” as he wonders why we don’t track firearms purchases. Either he is unaware that assault rifles are heavily restricted, regulated, taxed, and registered; or he doesn’t want readers to realize that he’s talking about semiautomatic sporting and defense tools. Perhaps he meant to say “assault weapons,” a term with no legal meaning in Florida or federal law; only a handful of states use the entirely subjective term.
The doctor claims that all “responsible” gun owners approve of his restrictions: registration, taxation, limits on ownership, prior restraint on the exercise of a right, and more. Since I do not, that is demonstrably false, unless Levy has invented his own bizarre definition of “responsible.”
Similar claims that “90% of Americans favor Universal Background Checks” don’t hold water. A few years ago in Washington state, polls alleged that 90% of Washingtonians wanted UBCs; but when it went to an actual vote (Initiative 594), fewer than 60% voted in favor, missing the claim by over thirty points, and more than 40% opposed.
Since recent research shows that background checks do not reduce firearms-related homicide rates (“Do gun laws reduce gun homicide rates?,”), the 40% had a valid point.
Levy sidesteps other questions. Estimates of American gun owners range from a ridiculous fifty-five million to a possibly overly optimistic one hundred-twenty million. Estimates of firearms range from two hundred sixty-five million to a three quarters of a billion. Given the lack of knowledge demonstrated by that remarkable uncertainty, how does Levy propose to determine who has what? How does he propose to pry “extra” firearms out of the homes of those with “too many?” Does he expect dubious owners, who won’t tell a telephone poller what arms he possesses, to self-report to a government intent on registration and confiscation? Or does he advocate searching every single, individual domicile in the country? That’s a lot of doors to kick in, and when the California legislature first proposed mass confiscations of “assault weapons” several years ago, a police union spokesman announced they’d see the largest outbreak of “blue flu” in history if implemented.
Perhaps Dr. Levy and the other estimated one million doctors in America will volunteer to do the door-kicking; they outnumber the FBI’s estimate of fewer than 700,000 law enforcement officers anyway.
Consider those fifty-five to one hundred-twenty million gun owners; then consider the roughly thirteen thousand firearms-related homicides. If each homicide represented an individual shooter and gun, that’s 0.01-0.02% of all firearm owners and 0.001-0.005% of firearms. While personal tragedies, statistically homicides are “black swan” events.
Those tiny fractions of a single percentage point do not point to a gun problem or gun owner problem. There is a criminal problem. Perhaps Dr. Levy should lobby for a gangbanger tax to fund criminal violence research.