When It Comes To Guns, The ‘Truth’ Really Will Set You Free

01/24/2017 02:20 pm ET
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Now that the 45th president has started dismantling the Affordable Care Act, I feel it incumbent upon myself to remind all my gun-nut friends that they might now be facing a serious, indeed highly-threatening assault on their 2nd Amendment ‘rights.’  What? The 45th president taking away all the guns? Wasn’t that what the 44th president tried to do? Isn’t the 45th president the best friend that gun nuts ever had? Oh… my… God.

The reason that gun-nut nation better figure out how to deal with this problem is because the ACA actually contains a provision which, believe it or not, protects gun owners who refuse to tell a physician whether or not there’s a gun lying around the house. But this section of the ACA is always conveniently overlooked when the gun-nut noise machine pushes out its usual quotient of fake news about doctors and guns. Here’s a comment from the NRA Blog: “The reality is, I should be able to receive medical care without being subject to a politically motivated inquisition regarding a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution.” The comment is found in a post entitled, “Should a doctor be allowed to ask if you own a gun?”  

But what happens if the ACA is scrapped and isn’t immediately replaced with some other health insurance law? It means that the poor, defenseless gun owner won’t have the 45th president around to protect him, and this means that the doctor can not only ask whether the poor guy owns guns, but can immediately report gun ownership to the cops. Think I’m being a little bit over the top? Think again.

Recall that after Sandy Hook, the 44th president issued a series of executive orders covering guns. Basically Obama’s action had one result, namely gun sales shot up and remained at historically-high levels until a few weeks before the 45th president was sworn in. But if you had listened to the noisemakers who pander to the Obama-burnished craziness of the NRA, you would have thought that Obama was planning to call out those ‘jack-booted government thugs’ (as Wayne LaPierre once characterized the ATF) to invade every gun-loving American home, grab all the hardware and cart it away. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth, but since the 45th president is now blatantly lying to the Congressional leadership about how many votes he did or didn’t receive, who cares about the truth?

Actually, there is a professional group out there which does try to base its behavior on information that is evidence-based, and that group happens to be physicians, who know a lethal product when they see one. And the reason they know that guns are lethal is because physicians have to repair 85,000 or so bullet wounds each year, and also have to pronounce some 30,000+ whose bullet wounds can’t be repaired.

There is simply no other consumer product lying around an American home which is as lethal as a gun. Which is why physicians have been advocating that guns shouldn’t be in the home. By the way, they also advocate that other lethal things, like cigarettes and pills that aren’t in bottles with child-proof caps, also shouldn’t be in the home. But somehow guns are different because many Americans have come to believe that it’s a gun’s lethality which makes it such a valuable item to own. After all, what if Mister Bad Guy comes crashing through the back door? What better way to protect yourself and your loved ones than with a gun?

There’s only one little problem. All the talk about how armed citizens constitute a necessary line of defense against violence and crime is just talk. Even the NRA can’t seem to produce more than eight or nine instances each month in which an armed citizen made the difference protecting anyone from crime.  But let’s not forget that we’re no longer in a time when the truth counts for anything at all.  And that’s the reason that the NRA worked so hard to help elect Donald Trump.

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