Gun Laws and Science

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A recent study by physician and a PhD in Science of two laws passed in CA in 1991 shows no correlation between either Comprehensive Background Checks (CBC) or a 10 year ban on firearms purchases by people convicted of misdemeanor acts of violence.

California’s comprehensive background check and misdemeanor violence prohibition policies and firearm mortality

The simultaneous implementation of CBC and MVP policies was not associated with a net change in the firearm homicide rate over the ensuing 10 years in California. The decrease in firearm suicides in California was similar to the decrease in nonfirearm suicides in that state. Results were robust across multiple model specifications and methods.

I give them credit for publishing data supporting the null hypothesis. Which is that background checks, often touted as the answer to firearms violence, don’t decrease violence. The researchers looked at 10 years of data following the implementation of the two laws and found no net change in the rate of homicides OR the rate of suicides. Suicides did decrease, but at the same rate as non firearms suicides.

I don’t give them credit for using this lack of effectiveness of a 27 year old law as an excuse to call for more gun control in the form of a “Permit to Purchase.” Whatever that is.

I also found a link to Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership.

Since gun owners are often worried about how to answer questions about firearms by their physicians, there is a nice article,

What to Do When Your Doctor Asks About Guns 

You may encounter the question in your health plan’s standard health appraisal questionnaire. Even though it may not be of your doctor’s making, it’s still part of your permanent medical record. Or your doctor may have a personal prejudice against gun ownership, shaped by her training in medical school or residency. Either way, it is important for people to know some very important facts:

• Doctors receive absolutely no training about firearm safety, mechanics, or tactics in medical school or residency. They are completely unqualified by their training to advise anyone about guns.

• Gun ownership is a civil right. A doctor’s abuse of his position of trust to pressure you to give up that civil right is professionally and morally wrong. In some states it is illegal. You DO NOT have to tolerate it.

• You as a consumer have great power in the doctor-patient relationship. Do not be afraid to use it.

The article goes on to list several options to register your displeasure with you doctor (or a spouse or child’s doctor) prying into your personal business. If this is an issue you’ve had, you will want to read this article.

Sadly, it’s no longer possible to just be a “patient.” We have to be informed consumers of medical services and as such need to make sure our medical providers are serving our interests, not those of the insurance providers, state regulators, or their employers.

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