Doctors ‘Aghast’ That Surgeon General Nominee Blocked For Gun Control Views

Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy (AP, provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital)

Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy (AP, provided by Brigham and Women’s Hospital)

Opposition from gun groups is holding up — and may ultimately block — confirmation of U.S. surgeon general nominee Vivek Murthy, who expressed support for gun control in the wake of the Newtown shootings.

Doctor/author Atul Gawande recently tweeted: “The success of the attack on Vivek Murthy’s nomination for surgeon general, for holding views on guns that the AMA holds, is infuriating.”

Here, two doctors and one doctor-to-be who know Dr. Murthy — a Harvard- and Yale-trained physician — react similarly to the news that his nomination may be scuttled.

By Ali Khan, M.D., Sanjay Kishore and Christopher Lillis, M.D.
Guest contributors

His is the story of which American dreams are made: a first-generation immigrant who grew up in South Florida, where he worked on weekends to support his father’s small business. After winning a spot at Harvard at 16, he set his sights on medicine and leadership. He founded an international non-profit focused on HIV/AIDS youth education while at Yale for medical school – and threw on an MBA for good measure before heading back to Boston for residency training at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Since then, he’s practiced medicine while working as a serial entrepreneur, starting both private and non-profit organizations in medical research and health advocacy. He wields a blinding smile and a voice that immediately commands a room.

He’s even been to the White House – and he took his mom with him.

Dr. Murthy has been ‘derailed for a moderate position on gun violence that aligns with the vast majority of America’s health professionals.’

In another time and place, a nominee like Dr. Vivek Murthy, with a narrative so akin to conservative politicians like Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, would sail through Senate confirmation as the nation’s surgeon general.

But in our time and place, special interest groups have hijacked Dr. Murthy’s nomination, as they have the entirety of the American political process. As physicians and students of public service, we are aghast.

Under the guise that his mere mention of “gun control” following the Newtown tragedy is akin to repudiation of the Second Amendment, the National Rifle Association has signaled its intense opposition to Dr. Murthy’s nomination. The NRA now promises to “score” a confirmation vote for Murthy as the basis of electoral support in the 2014 midterms – a prospect that has multiple senators wavering in their support. White House rumors suggest that a Senate vote on Dr. Murthy’s nomination will be delayed until after the midterms, in order to protect those candidates who hold the key to a Democratic Senate majority.

As physicians, we are appalled that a candidate of such high caliber – with impeccable credentials, a well-earned reputation as a “doctor’s doctor” and formidable experience in management and leadership – could be derailed for a moderate position on gun violence that aligns with the vast majority of America’s health professionals. (Never mind the fact that Dr. Murthy’s position on gun violence is no different from that of the American Medical Association, or that he explicitly confirmed that obesity, tobacco and mental health – and not gun control – would be his priorities as surgeon general.)

As Americans, however, we strongly believe that the NRA’s entry into this debate – and its immediate support by Sen. Rand Paul and others – cannot be taken lightly.

Will every qualified public health leader be held to a new standard: that a mere mention of the word “gun” is a disqualifier from public service? This new style of McCarthyism comes at a time when the United States leads the world in gun deaths and 15 months after the tragedy at Newtown. After all, even C. Everett Koop, the legendary surgeon general nominated by Ronald Reagan, described gun violence as a public health emergency.

But in our America, facts such as these have little impact in the national debate. The NRA’s influence – and that of countless special interest groups like it – cannot be ignored.

In our America, sterling qualifications, vast experience and the support of the broad medical and public health community, however, seemingly can.

Dr. Ali Khan is a practicing internist at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Sanjay Kishore is a rising medical student and recent Duke graduate. Dr. Christopher Lillis is a private practice internist in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Further reading:

CommonHealth: Boston Medical Center Trauma Docs Speak Out On Gun Control

Bloomberg Business Week: How the NRA Defeated Obama’s Surgeon General Choice: Four Blunt Points

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  • John Henry

    Tell me again why this 36-year-old junior physician with minimal clinical and executive experience should be the chief executive of the U.S. Public Health Service (aside from being a reliable shill for the administration.)

  • 33Charlemagne

    Much of Murthy’s qualifications are political rather than professional. So it should not come as a surprise that he is bitterly opposed by those who do not share his politics!

    Likewise it should not come as a surprise, after the Obama Administration’s attempt to ram an extreme gun control program through Congress last year, that Second Amendment supporters like the NRA and GOA are more than just a little cautious about some of the his nominees!

  • samuelpepys

    Why do people become hysterical about guns? Why are the people writing here–almost all of them opposed to any regulation, despite the continuing massacre of children in American cities, villages, suburbs (and by the way woods, from hunting accidents)–so frantic they must invent facts and insult strangers to make their points? What are they so afraid of that they’ve lost their inhibitions, civility, values? It matters, and not just because hysterical people without inhibitions–and with guns–are dangerous.. Such fear must be terrible to experience, to live with. Along with the risk to life and limb of guns, doctors should be worrying about the risk to life and limb of mind-warping levels of fear. It has seemed to me for many years–starting before /11, but much worse since–that America is suffering, and suffering horribly, from an epidemic of fear.

    • fun bobby

      statistically the safest youth sport is turkey hunting. you sound terrified of other people

      • samuelpepys

        I’m not talking about guns, never mind hunting (though I assisted a forest ecologist on a long study of hunting accidents, reading every accident report filed in NH and NY state for 10 years, and as a matter of fact a lot of people do die–but then, a lot more people die driving!) I’m talking about the fear I hear so painfully in the 100+ comments any article attracts that relates, however distantly, to any regulation of weapons (for instance registering them, as we do our cars). It is terrible to hear, it has risen to hysterical heights over the last 12 years or so. I’m wondering what it is that people fear. Because guess what’s really, really safe, safer even than turkey hunting? Living in the USA! So why are we the scaredy-cattest people on the planet?

        • fun bobby

          If you identify the period as the last 12 years or so maybe it has something to do with living on an active battlefield. i don’t know that its fear for most people. upstate new York and NH are pretty safe places in terms of crime. unless you are in Nashua.
          you register you car with the state. I think a gun registry is the law in NY and if you really want to register them come on down to MA where we register ours. I would never submit to a federal car registry either. could you imagine the lines and bad service at the federal DMV?
          America has also become more of an authoritarian regime in that same period which does raise the specter of other such past regimes.
          what are you basing your feelings of others being afraid on? it always makes me laugh when people make this argument because if they were so unafraid they would have no reason to fear their neighbor’s gun.

          • samuelpepys

            I don’t fear your/their guns! I’m just asking, for the 3rd time and then I’m done with this conversation, what it is that makes gun OWNERS so patently afraid (so afraid they’re even frenzied at the thought of having to register their guns!), and what it is they’re afraid of. Personally, I’m not afraid. I live in the USA–a safe place for middle-class people to live. (And I don’t, thank God, go to high school. Or first grade.)

            Maybe you think I’m afraid of guns because I said that frightened people with guns are dangerous? The data backs me up on that, but I didn’t say I feared that danger. I don’t, not because I’m so brave but because 1) I don’t know or live near that many folks with guns, and the ones I do know or have lived around in the past aren’t frightened: they believe in registering guns, background checks, restricting sale of automatic rifles and bazookas to teenagers, etc. (especially the vets in my family). And 2) because statistically my chances of getting killed by a scared, upset person with a gun are low– almost as low as my chances of getting knocked off by a terrorist! I agree that nothing is “safe,” and that the craze for safety (you didn’t say it but implied it) in this country is, well, kinda crazy. I presume the craze for not registering guns, and preserving the right to sell AK47s to unbalanced teens, is linked to the craze for safety, but it’s not a logical link, since unbalanced teens with AK47s are likely to use them, thus rendering some people dead. No hunter I know uses AK47s.

          • fun bobby

            like I said many states have gun registries. if you want to register yours move to one. To what end? they are not used to solve crimes. the only possible use of a gun registry is so they can round them up after a ban. they tried to have the ban first and then the registry in CT. it did not work too well.

            You have yet to explain what you base you perception that there are people living in fear. One of the reasons that America is so safe is because people have guns. you seem to take that for granted.

            “the right to sell AK47s to unbalanced teens,

            that right does not currently exist.

            “unbalanced teens with AK47s are likely to use them

            please cite an example of this happening. there should be several if they “are likely to use them”
            you live in the north east where there the species typically hunted with semi auto rifles do not exist.
            I am not sure what your fear of ak47s is based on. I am not aware of any being used in a crime in the united states. in fact I challenge you to find more than 10 Americans shot with an ak47 in a typical year. why the focus on the ak47 when they are seldom or never used for crime and mostly used for fun?

  • Born in Akron

    This posting compares cars and guns, and the NRA with a mythical NCA. It is long, but I hope that people on both sides of gun issues will read it, reflect upon it, and temper their hostilities. Note: My grandfather was NOT born in Akron, as may be obvious to you.

    Highway warning signs in Wyoming refer to “wildlife”, “animals”, or specific dangers such as “Elk Crossing next five miles”. As soon as you cross into Idaho, the signs change to “Game Crossing ahead”. And in cities the signs warn of “Pedestrian Crossings”.

    My point is that conditions vary from place to place. No one should approve of deliberate acts of drivers killing pedestrians. Given the value placed on human life, gun owners shouldn’t kill people either, but some gun users don’t stop to think of their victims as humans. Neither do drunk drivers. Hunting moose on highways with cars is exceedingly dangerous to the passenger, and driver. To preserve the species (moose, not just people) there are regulated hunting seasons, licenses, and limits. In general, hunting animals with guns is a matter with ethical claims on both sides. Killing animals by cars is much more often accidental, just “road kill” of “lesser beings”. Flocks of wild turkeys in Brookline and gaggles of geese in Cambridge present a tempting dilemma, but responsible people restrain themselves, avoiding using either cars or guns.

    Overall, we can own cars, which are regulated and taxed by states. Every state licenses drivers, and requires insurance. Car owners usually carry much more than the minimum insurance to protect themselves from the consequences of car-inflicted damage. Responsible gun owners should do the same, but rarely do.

    You may think that there is no role for the Federal Government in these arenas, but it IS the appropriate level for dealing with inherent dangers such as safety defects in particular models of cars. Opinions differ on whether, like cars, the safety defects of guns are limited to particular models by specific manufacturers, or are arguably broad and generic. But given that guns move in interstate commerce, safety defects are properly debated and dealt with at the Federal level

    Now, image a “National Car Association” which argued against Every Conceivable regulation of vehicles. Anyone of any age, anywhere, should be able to buy a tank and lumber down the highways, through our cities, and into our schools and movie theaters, firing at every self-perceived threat. Speed maximums and minimums would be “strengst verboten.” etc. Even if buttressed by some sort quotation from the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, adoption of the NCA position would soon lead to total anarchy on our streets and highways. (Think of Inman “Square”, Cambridge, before the installation of traffic lights and the eventual improvement of their timing.)

    My grandfather was a farmer whose hobby of fixing guns turned into a profession. He could make any replacement part for any gun of any type, whether it was a replacement rifle barrel from scratch, or a beautifully checkered gun stock created from a prime chunk of a walnut tree. Customers came from all the surrounding states, as well as nearby, simply by word of mouth “advertising” by satisfied customers. He won .22-calibre target pistol competitions, clay-pigeon shoots out at the Isaac Walton League, and even state-wide prizes. He hunted deer, jackrabbits, pheasants, and squirrels, and Grandma turned them into delicious meals. (PETA trolls: please go away)

    Not surprisingly, my grandfather was a lifelong member of the NRA. He also earned his 50-year pin as a Master Mason. He knew his customers, and counseled them on gun safety and proper apparel for hunting, and respecting posted land. Sincere members of the NRA still do these sorts of things.

    But my grandfather would have been appalled when his NRA was taken over by radical anarchists, who have turned it into an analog of the NCA described above. I certainly am appalled also. Gun owners, think for yourself about today’s NRA. Please stop assuming that it represents your self-interest as a gun owner and citizen, any more than my mythical NCA would. Fortunately my grandfather did not live to see today’s NRA totally besmirch our political discourse. And he was a Republican.

    Just sayin’.

    • fun bobby

      you know that your rant is based on pure fantasy right? all nra members have gun insurance. the feds do regulate safety defects in guns. and the auto makers spend billions on lobbying so that’s also a stupid hypothetical.

      • Born in Akron

        I said it was hypothetical. You say it’s stupid. OK, I accept that as informative discourse.

        I’m glad to know that NRA members all get gun insurance with their dues. I’m genuinely curious: that could be 1) insurance against loss or theft, or 2) providing a lawyer if you are sued, or 3) even a heartfelt commitment to pay the value of a human life in the case of a fatal accidental shooting, with the member’s gun. Perhaps one grandkid accidentally kills another while they are playing with an unsafely stored gun that they accidentally find at Grandpa’s house.
        Since that family will grieve, but not necessarily sue, let’s say that the dead kid is a neighbor. This is not hypothetical. Sad situations like this actually happen. Please inform me what the NRA insurance policy covers.

        • fun bobby

          you postulated something that actually exists so why treat it as a hypothetical?
          all of the above are covered and if you are killed while hunting or by a violent criminal. they also sell upgraded policies of all sorts. is grampa at fault or is the gun? in many if not all states grandpa’s unsafely stored gun is a crime. there is no insurance of any type that will cover criminal acts, so what is the point of an insurance requirement to begin with? insurance requirements are just another tactic to make ownership more expensive to reduce legal access by certain demographics, why would you support that?

          in reality there are no accidents with guns only failures to follow the safety rules.

  • Buck Brogan

    If these Doctors are concerned with saving lives, shouldn’t they focus on something about which they have some knowledge? Two thirds of the 30,000 gun deaths are suicide which leaves about 10,000 deaths that are the result of murder, accidents & justifiable shootings, a figure that pales in comparison to the approximately (at least) 200,000 deaths a year in the United States that result from medical negligence. Perhaps it is time for the police and politicians to come in and review the doctor’s and hospital’s protocols and then make public comment on them.

  • sgtstriker

    Perhaps the good doctor should place a little less emphasis on his gun control agenda and spend some time on this;

    “Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death.

    That would make medical errors the third leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second.”

    Deaths related to firearms, typically about 32000 annually, most of which are gang and/or drug related.

    So doctors are apparently far more dangerous than guns….

  • Chris

    This doctor cannot get confirmed by a simple majority of a democratically controlled senate and liberals are having a hissy fit. The majority of our representatives and their constituents want an end to this political cronyism. This doctor has done more in politics than medicine. It is simply a payback from Obama.

    Did you hear that liberals ? Even though you broke long standing Senate rules, you still cannot pass this radical progressive liberal. The American people don’t want this guy due to his bias and lack of experience. Surgeon Generals should not be guided by agenda-driven politics.

    • jefe68

      There it is, the regressive right showing it’s true colors.
      Intolerance, ignorance and belligerence.

      • wireknob


        • jefe68

          Pretty much every comment on this article is chock full of all three.

          • wireknob

            For example, where is it in the comment above?

          • jefe68

            “Did you hear that liberals?” “…and liberals are having a hissy fit. ”The American people don’t want this guy due to his bias and lack of experience. Surgeon Generals should not be guided by agenda-driven politics.” Good example of belligerence, I’m American and I’m not advocating anything this guy is. The entire tone is belligerent and I dare say it was meant to be.

            They go on about his lack of experience and yet he seems to have a lot of it. His only failing is talking about guns as health issue. Which they are in some context.

            Look at the comment below. Capitalizing words, which is yelling, (more belligerence), and cherry picking one thing, him not running a hospital and being a donor to Obama’s campaign. As to partisan, some of the folks commenting here are not even aware of how partisan they are. Or if the are, well they seem to think the US should only have one political persuasion, right wing and gun loving.

          • wireknob

            Well, I don’t know that the American people are terribly focused on this, but the observation that liberals are reacting somewhat strongly to this and that the nominee isn’t particularly experienced is not belligerent. Capitalizing words is emphasis, not belligerence. Maybe you’re just particularly sensitive…but not above throwing out some insults yourself.

            How does a 35 year old surgeon have a lot of experience in a medical field, especially when he spends a good deal of time organizing political support for administration policies and with business activities. And the point below is that he has not held a leadership role in the medical field, but he is an active political supporter (kinda like those recent nominees for ambassadorships who never set foot in the countries they were to represent our country in); honestly, on what basis do you think he was chosen? Not saying Murthy isn’t accomplished for his age with a bright future, but he’s not experienced for this field.

            It’s not just talking about guns, but advocating for making deliberate acts of gun violence a public health issue and for gun control measures on the phony basis of public health, where proponents of gun control have been pumping out gun control advocacy under the guise of “research” for decades.

            It’s not gun loving, it’s freedom loving. Gun owners are not trying to impose their views on others, they are resisting others trying to impose their anti-gun views on this country. It’s only the anti-gun crowd that is intolerant here.

          • Joel0903

            “and cherry picking one thing, him not running a hospital and being a donor to Obama’s campaign”

            That’s two things – for starters. The former is slightly inaccurate – He’s never run a department in a hospital or chaired a board. This is HIGHLY (emphasis, not yelling) relevant. He simply isn’t qualified for the position. On the flip side of the nomination, if the President didn’t nominate him because of his qualifications and distinguished career in medicine, then why did he nominate him? From the public record, and the President’s own comments, he was nominated because of his leadership of a group of doctors who are for restricting the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. His only other “qualification” has been to support the President politically through being a donor. These are not viable reasons to be appointed to a position which influences health policy. One qualification should be – actually having experience in the area of healthcare policy, which the Dr. clearly does not.

  • Peter M. Abraham

    This 35 year year old part-time doctor has ZERO experience running a hospital, ZERO experience of running a department. His only claim to fame is being a long time donor to President Obama, and his stance against the second amendment. So you have someone with no real experience in running anything who is very partisan, and wants to take his feelings about removing or limiting the second amendment into the medical field for which it has no business. That’s why the uproar.

  • Rufina Yagudina

    How is his stance on gun control would affect his skills as a doctor and a leader? I am trying and failing to see the common grounds between guns and being surgeon general. If he is deserving of a job, then let him have it, what’s the difference what his view is on guns?

    • Bill of Rights Supporter

      Exactly, why bring up his stance on guns if gun policy stance and medicine are not relevant to each other? Well, Rufina, that’s just the issue. He has clearly expressed that he believes that gun policy is part of medicine and he, as well as anyone that holds that opinion, will have a tough time gaining approval through the senate for their an appointment.

      Basically, the system worked for once.

    • Dan Dan

      Because he has shown that he equates gun ownership with a medical pathogen. He sees guns and gun owners as a medical issue that needs to be addressed. He has also advocated for bans on certain weapons and on certain ammunition as potential solutions to this “medical” problem. It is logical to conclude that as Surgeon General he would advocate for gun bans and other gun control initiatives as part of his job to improve the health of the nation. His stating that he will not push for gun control as SG conflicts with his prior actions, and frankly, his nomination seems to me to be another Obama attempt to push for gun control “under the radar” and without congressional support. Forgive me if I don’t trust his motives.

    • Chris

      He can (and will, based on his own writings) abuse the position and use it as a bully pulpit for gun control. His work so far has more accomplishments in politics than medicine. This is a political payback appointment from Obama. The American people deserve a surgeon general dedicated to medicine with experience to back it up.

  • thematrixkid17

    “Under the guise that his mere mention of “gun control” following the Newtown tragedy is akin to repudiation of the Second Amendment, the National Rifle Association has signaled its intense opposition to Dr. Murthy’s nomination. ”

    Well, if you didn’t want to be viewed as advocating gun bans, then maybe you shouldn’t have supported legislation that bans guns.

    • Dan Dan

      Or pushed an initiative called “Docs vs. Glocks”. This guy is not only anti gun in his ideology, but he is a gun control activist, and he feels that as a doctor, he has the responsibility of regulating guns as part of his medical responsibilities. Would he really abandon those activities if he were given more medical authority?

  • Mario Leone

    the american medical association represents what, 15% of doctors these days? Screw them, and I say that as a medical student. I didn’t sign up to be a part of the gun control cabal considering I come from a home where high powered guns aren’t a big deal at all.

  • mridianguy

    Even if you agree with the article, it seems very Left-Wing biased leaning the way it’s written.

    Maybe it should be relocated to opinion editorials.

  • wireknob

    One wonders how others would react if the president nominated a very young pro-life, political activist candidate with relatively little medical experience who believed that abortion was a public health issue, that many abortion procedures should be banned, that sexually active women should register with the state, and that primary care doctors should question women about their sex lives and lecture them about their reproductive choices during office visits.

    • Bill of Rights Supporter

      Your example is a poor one because gun policy is not a medical issue where as abortion is.

      (I happen to be pro-choice, I’m just pointing out the flaw in your argument.)

      Now, if Dr. Vivek Murthy was on record saying that playing ping-pong should be considered a public health risk, wouldn’t it be natural that the National Defense League for the Table Tennis Sports be against his appointment? His anti-ping-pong tweets would certainly be relevant then wouldn’t you agree?

      • wireknob

        In my opinion, at least, accidental gun injuries are similar to complications during abortion procedures. I agree that doctors are probably more knowledgeable about abortion risks than gun safety, and therefore better fit to dispense information on the subject of abortion risks, but I think that opening up a public policy door to government-mandated personal discussions about either issue would let through as much biased propaganda as objective, factual information.

        My point was that there is a small risk of an unforeseen or accidental injury due to the the presence of a gun or undergoing a medical procedure. Providing factual, objective information about these risks is good, but dispensing biased, alarmist propaganda is bad (and highly likely when political advocates are pushing for the policy). And using public health system to promote government intrusion and regulation of your personal choices is disingenuous.

        To answer your questions, yes. People know there are risks that come with their personal choices, and we don’t need public policy that empowers some people that are prejudiced against certain choices to push their personal views on others, especially when inaccurate information and/or propaganda might be used to influence other people’s views.

  • Thinkfreeer

    As one commented, the nominee supports making gun ownership part of a patient’s medical records, which are already headed toward more government viewing or even ownership under another ill conceived government program. As Surgeon General, he would be the top influencer of medical policies countrywide. This amounts to back door gun registration. I have no problem telling my doctor, “It’s none of your damn business. I’m here for medical reasons.” But why not stop it at it’s source? There are other medically qualified choices. This guy doesn’t make the cut.

  • John

    I am truly sorry that the esteemed doctors don’t appreciate our efforts in defense of the Second Amendment.
    They are 100% correct about one thing….we should not be “taken lightly”.

    • dust truck

      I love how you gun nuts resort to threats whenever your feelings are hurt. Don’t you get it? This is why people don’t trust you with deadly weapons!

      • Frostiken

        Keep tilting at windmills. His words could just as easily mean don’t take us lightly politically.

      • TheBest

        Oh look, another bigot.

        • dust truck

          bigot? W.O.W. You gun nuts see yourselves as an ethnicity now? No wonder you’re getting ready for the next civil war! Seriously mentally unstable. I can’t wait to read in the news when the FBI comes to arrest you in your shotgun shack because of all the people you killed.

          • TheBest

            From Wikipedia: “Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust, hatred, contempt, or intolerance on the basis of a person’s opinion, ethnicity, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.”

            I thought you liberals would be open, understanding, and inviting, but I guess not. Your state of mind treats “gun nuts” differently based on our characteristics. Your true bigot flag flies high.

      • Bill of Rights Supporter

        where’s your tolerance for other views?

        • jefe68

          Where’s yours?

          • Bill of Rights Supporter

            Jefe68, I don’t think you’ll find my posts characterize those that I don’t agree with as “nuts”. Disagreeing with others and hold a different opinion is not insulting, calling others names is and displays a lack of respect and tolerance.

          • dust truck

            Wow, with all the hatred you’re spreading on these boards it take a lot of balls (or a great deal of insanity) to claim you’re the reasonable one here.

          • Bill of Rights Supporter

            Dust truck, it seems you are confused or lack reading comprehension abilities as I challenge you to show a hateful statement I’ve made on this board.

            Not agreeing with someone or pointing out errors in examples is not a form of hatred. If you view it as such then you should ‘recalibrate’ your understanding of debate.

            Otherwise, it clear you may be an excellent candidate for bigotry.

        • dust truck

          I’m not the one threatening violence whenever my fee fees are hurt.

          • Bill of Rights Supporter

            Threats of violence from me? Source them please.

  • spencer60

    No tears here.

    Given that the administration has already promised to turn the public health system into a shill for the gun control lobby, is it really any surprise that an outspoken advocate for doing just that will fail to get confirmed?

  • Bill of Rights Supporter

    It’s simple, Dr. Vivek Murthy is overly politically active and, despite how his supporters may view his stance on gun violence, advocating to document gun ownership in medical records that are now electronic is an extreme view, not moderate.

    If becoming Surgeon General was his endeavor, Dr. Vivek Murthy could and should have been more focused on medicine, less on politics, and taken a less controversial approach that would not have provoked others.

    • Dan Dan

      I suspect that he would not have been nominated if he hadn’t actively campaigned for Obama’s election. Obama probably wouldn’t even have known about him otherwise.

  • Dana Seero

    Yes, here in Massachusetts, public figures use their First Amendment right to denounce any support for the Second Amendment as “McCarthyism.”

    It couldn’t possibly be that Dr. Murthy wanted to ask patients – including minors – if they had [legal] firearms at home, and if so “counsel them appropriately about safety measures.”

    Dr. Murthy has not mentioned what the intervention strategy would be for the criminal gang members that account for virtually all gun deaths on Boston.

    • wireknob

      Are doctors experts in gun safety? Given the facts that intentional, deliberate acts of violence, with or without a gun, are outside the purview or public health and accidental shootings are among the least common causes of injury in this country, does it make sense for doctors to spend valuable office visit time lecturing them about guns, a subject they may know little or nothing about? What does an assault weapons ban, which Dr. Murthy is advocating, have to due with public health?

      • BornInUSA

        Not true. By 2015, guns are set to exceed car accidents as leading cause of non-medical death in the USA.

        • Dan Dan

          Gun accident fatalities are around 600 per year. The number you are referring to is the combination of intentional killings plus suicides plus accidents.
          If you compare apples to apples, which wireknob was doing, you get 600 gun accident fatalities vs 34000 auto accident fatalities. Big difference.

        • Chris

          In another poll, In 2014 Republicans are expected take control of the Senate and remain in control of the House. Hooray ! Liberalism always fails. It is bad policy.

        • wireknob

          As Dan Dan said, accidents are completely different from deliberate, intentional acts. Educating people so that they might take steps to avoid an unwanted accident is not the same as dealing with people whose intent it is to kill, either themselves (suicide) or someone else (homicide).

          And how is it my doctor’s business whether I to shoot a semi-automatic rifle, a bolt-action rifle, or a lever-action rifle? How does that fall within the purview of public health?

    • LarryRow

      Doctors council patients on safety regarding swimming pools, smoke detectors, and other risk factors. An unlocked, loaded gun in a house with a child is a risk factor. The fact that gun nuts would want to prevent a doctor from acknowledging that simple truth speaks volumes about where they stand on the first amendment.

      • Dana Seero

        Sir, fundamental firearm safety rules are that any firearm should be secured from unauthorized use and kept unloaded until use is intended.

        It appears anyone who disagrees with your opinion is a “gun nut” but the fact remains that Dr. Murtha’s Doctors for America was involved in the political debate known as “Doc versus Glocks” and it should be no surprise that this element of his public life became part of the testimony.

        I suspect if you ever take the time to speak in person to a “gun nut” you might find them every bit as opposed to gun homicides as anyone else. Choosing positions and rhetoric that will only alienate a substantial segment of the American populace seems to be the way Congress works these days: so nothing gets done.

        More local to Boston, we have what former Mayor Menino described as “Some of the best gun laws in the country.” This includes outright ban of “Assault weapons” or large capacity magazines. And during Mayor,Menino’s administration, gun homicides doubled and the number of other violent crimes involving crimes increased. Criminal gangs do not obey the laws.

        • LarryRow

          That’s the problem with gun fetishists like yourself. Anyone who think that gun violence is a problem is automatically disqualified from public office due to bias.

          I do talk to gun nuts, and they are basically all the same. They’d rather fight tooth and nail against a sensible reform that could save lives if it means a minor inconvenience for them. They are some of the most selfish and evil people I know, and we have them to thank for our appalling gun death statistics.

          Australia had enough smart people to change their ways when they had a terrible mass shooting. In American, we have gun nuts instead.

  • Matthew Patrick Barnson

    I voted for Obama. Twice. Understand where I’m coming from: by and large, I support his policies, except a few surrounding gun control. Though I support sensible limits, those limits do not include restricting all semi-automatic firearms or firearms which appear superficially similar — “military-style” — to those used by the armed forces. The sale of new machine guns to the US population has been banned since 1986. That’s enough of a win for gun control to last a long, long time.

    I have very good reasons for not wanting this gentleman to be surgeon general. Chief among them his ongoing, misinformed, vaguely-worded, outspoken anti-gun rhetoric and FOUNDING AN ORGANIZATION to attempt to restrict the rights of Americans.

    Put yourself in a gun owner’s shoes for a minute. Imagine this nominated surgeon general founded an organization devoted to registering all homosexuals in a federal database upon each visit to a doctor, because their risk of transmitting AIDS is slightly higher than that of the general population. Imagine he demanded mandatory education for all blacks on every visit to a doctor’s office about the likelihood of their eventual imprisonment. Imagine he wrote repeated passionate appeals to the vice-president to enforce a mandatory minimum 48-hour waiting period on all purchases of foods with sugar in them by the obese.

    That’s the way his proposals sound to gun owners: preposterous, discriminatory, and an objectionable re-framing of a constitutional right as if it were a public health issue.

    • Dan Dan

      Thank you. These outraged doctors just don’t get it. This is an important civil right to a large portion of the population Can Obama really not find a non-political activist to be Surgeon General? Do we really need another partisan government official?

      • spencer60

        Sure he could… Does he want to? Nah.

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      • amanda n

        You clearly have not even read the article. This is not an activist stance. It is run-of-the-mill for AMA (=mainstream) doctors. Doesn’t that tell you something??

        • fun bobby

          only 15% of doctors belong to the AMA. this guy was the founder of “Doctors for obama”. what could be more obviously political?

        • GoodbyeUSA

          It is political to frame gun ownership as a healthcare issue. Is car ownership a healthcare issue? How about skateboard ownership?

    • Owen Linder MD FACP

      The gun owners throw up a bunch of words so they continue to pretend they are militia and important to defend our country. When deep down they are intimidating their friends, and spouses by merely owning weapons of death; & I suspect it is out of fear of being cuckolded. Owen Linder MD FACP

      • spencer60

        God, I hope you are really just a gun-control shill and not a real doctor.

        But if you really are ‘Owen Linder MD’ out of Safety Harbor, FL I would suggest you spend less time writing asinine comments about gun owners and focus on your practice instead.

        Looking you up on the Health Grades site shows you are well below the national average in all 8 categories, with an overall rating of 2.6 out of 5.

        I suspect your poor score might have something to do with suggesting that 30% of your patients fear they are being cuckolded.

      • Dana Seero

        Puerile insults do nothing to further the discussion.

      • Matthew Patrick Barnson

        I was raised in a suburban/urban setting on the East Coast, and I had no interest in guns. My wife — who hails from a rural background in southeast Idaho — slowly convinced me over a period of years that we should own some concealable pistols and obtain concealed firearm permits to protect ourselves and our children in the wake of the Trolley Square massacre of 2007. We obtained our permits together simultaneously a few years later.

        She is much more diligent about concealed-carrying on a daily basis than I am. She is such a wonderful example to me of the most typical concealed-carry permit holder: female, an educator, and she carries her firearm with her legally at all times when out of the house, including on public school grounds. What a woman!

        Owen Linder: Your myth is busted.

        • LarryRow

          Myth busted by a single anecdote! “My experience must be representative of the norm, because I’m normal!” Get real.

        • dust truck

          I’m still amazed that you could think your guns are some kind of magical bullet protection device. If you had been the first victim in the Trolley Square Massacre, you wouldn’t have had a chance to even pull your gun much less remove the safety and find a location to safely fire back.

          Meanwhile the same number of people probably would have been killed and your precious little gun would have done nothing to save lives and yet you probably would have started randomly shooting at anyone with a gun and end up taking more lives.

          • Dan Dan

            Guns do not magically protect, they only change the odds. Yes, the first victim would not be able to fight back. But what about the 10th? If you cannot tell the difference between someone randomly shooting at victims, and someone else trying to stop that person. then you are right. You should not carry a weapon of any kind. If you really believe that having a gun can never protect life, then I suppose you think that the police should not have them either.

          • dust truck

            5 People were killed in the Trolley Square Massacre. So the “10th” wouldn’t even be an issue.

            Besides there are plenty of police who shouldn’t be carrying. Such as that guy down in Florida who murdered someone in a movie theater.

          • Ravi32

            by your logic we should end police since they don’t prevent every crime

      • A_Chicago_guy

        My word, I’d expect an educated MD could do better than an ad hominem attack, I guess you guys aren’t so educated after all,

        • wireknob

          It’s all rote learning. Apparently some are only taught to absorb then mindlessly parrot what their masters tell them.

      • Ravi32

        500,000 to three million crimes are prevented per year by legal firearms owners.
        Firearms ownership prevents 18 crimes for every crime associated with guns

    • dust truck

      “Put yourself in a gun owner’s shoes for a minute. [and then you make a bunch of faulty comparisons]”

      These things have NOTHING in common, one is a persons identity the other is ownership. I know you loooove Obama, but really you’re resorting to the cheapest dirtiest tricks commonly used by extremist conservatives when making any message board argument.

      Guns are not a civil right and other than being protected by the 2nd Amendment for well regulated militias, they have no other protections under the law.

      Let’s face it, you’re just another paid shill from the gun industry to smear anyone who calls for an end to violence.

      • Montyjack

        Actually, guns are a civil right independent from a well regulated militia as ruled in DC v Heller. In addition 10 USC sec 311 defines the unorganized militia to be any able-bodied male between the ages of 17 and 45. There you go, well regulated (well regulated = well defined). So, guns for everyone between 17 and 45 even by your definition. Personally, I feel we should expand that to females as well, but since guns are a right independent of service in a milita, I suppose that’s not necessary.

        And sorry, but his analogies are not extreme or disingenuous by any means. The type of guns covered by gun control measures proposed in recent months cover types of guns which kill fewer people per year than backyard swimming pools. If Dr. Murthy was really interested in reducing gun violence, he would lobby for the end to the drug war. That failed institute on its own is responsible for the vast majority of gun violence, and violence in general. By ending it and redirecting those wasted billions to much needed social programs you would do far more to reduce violence, crime and misery in our country than any gun control measure could hope to.

        Dr. Murthy’s issue with firearms is ideological, not logical, and his position is far from moderate.

        • dust truck

          yes yes, I know about DC v. Heller, yet it still has NOTHING to do with Civil rights as protected by the 14th amendment to the constitution. I know you wingnuts want to repeal the 14th so you can start your racist pogroms, but fact is, it’s just as an important part of the constitution as the 2nd.

          • Montyjack

            Ha! Yes, I just can’t wait to start all those “racist pogroms.” I voted for Obama in ’08 and Jill Stein in ’12 because Obama was far too conservative for my tastes. I assure you, I’m not the type of wingnut you’re thinking of. Would have thought you’d have figured that out when I came out against the drug war, but you seem a tad blinded by partisan indignation.

            You may be interested to know that every gun owner I’ve known is quite aware of the 14th amendment, and fully support it because they don’t like laws abridging their “rights and privileges” as stated within. I don’t know who you think gun owners are, but they are generally quite passionate about defending the constitution- ALL of it, unlike you.

            You rant about ending violence, but gun control has NEVER succeeded in that. In the UK, the much vaunted gun controllers paradise, the murder rate is the same as it was before the ban, roughly 1.2/100K. All the ban did was produce a whopping 89% spike in gun violence over 10 years. In Australia, another so-called gun control “success” gun violence did indeed drop after the ban. Only problem is, it dropped by the same amount in the US as gun ownership INCREASED. Your solution, when put into practice, fails.

            But theres an even more important reason to defend the second amendment. Over the past 20 years we have seen nearly every amendment of the bill of rights abridged in some way. In every instance, this has been excused as “for our safety.” The second is perhaps the only instance where citizens have been able to fight back. It is now more than ever important we say to our government, we will not accept infringements on our rights. We don’t care if you say it’s to make us safe. We’d rather be free.

          • PaulD

            But you don’t seem to know about McDonald v. Chicago, which incorporated the 2nd amendment against the states under the due process clause of the 14th.

      • Matthew Patrick Barnson

        Of course I’m not from Mass. I’m from Maryland, currently living in Utah. This site was heavily-linked on Facebook, and was the only spot I’d heard this particular angle on the story.

        DC v Heller — as mentioned by Montyjack — specifies that there is an individual right to own firearms for “traditionally lawful purposes”, including defense of a home, defense of person, sporting, hunting, and national/civil defense.

        Get with the times; it’s been years since that 2008 decision!

        My background: I was indifferent toward firearms until my wife convinced me we should protect ourselves in the wake of the 2007 Trolley Square massacre in Salt Lake City near our home. After much urging by her, we bought pistols, attended a concealed firearm class, and began legally carrying concealed firearms at all legal times & places — including public school grounds — upon receipt of our permits. I own one gun: a 9mm pistol, for use in defending myself and family at home and at large. My wife owns a pistol and several rifles. I am not a collector, enthusiast, or supporter or member of the NRA.

        • dust truck

          So instead of answering my question you just change the subject and move the goal posts. Typical NRA/GOP response. I see you and your paid-for buddies have all come in to vote each other up to create the appearance of peer consensus.

          • Dan Dan

            I have never been paid a penny by any lobby. I post here to try to bring my view to the attention of readers. I value my freedom to own weapons, and I want to convince others that they should not work to reduce those freedoms. Why do you post? What is your motive? Do you want to argue a position, or are you just venting hate for those with whom you disagree?

          • dust truck

            yes, and I was a proud supporter of Mitt Romney, but since we’re all anonymous here, I guess I just have to “trust” you.

          • Dan Dan

            “I guess I just have to “trust” you.”
            Well, that’s a start.

      • Amit Kumar

        You are supposed to read the Constitution before you comment on it. As someone with an MA LTC, am I allowed to be offended?

        • dust truck

          I did read it and I quoted it. Apparently you haven’t read it though.

      • Libertarian

        Sigh, another ignorant fool talking like they think they know something. Gun ownership is indeed an individual right. Google is your friend. Supreme court ruled on this on multiple cases years ago

      • s0beit

        You lost that battle. It is a civil right, affirmed by the courts. Deal with it.

        I’m sure you’d be the first to the plate if somebody said “Medical care is not a civil right”, too.

        • dust truck

          “Lost the battle”

          I like you gun nuts always portray everything like its a violent conflict. I bet you can’t wait until you can use your guns to take a life. It probably turns you on you sick f***

    • LarryRow

      His views are aligned with all major medical organizations: gun violence is a health risk. Do you also think the earth is flat, 6000 years old, and not getting warmer? Usually science deniers vote Republican.

      • Dan Dan

        Gravity is a health risk too. Being a “health risk” does not make something a medical issue. Doctors are studied in medicine, not criminology. If he focused on medicine, instead of politics he would not have opposition. Despite what you assert, the solutions to gun violence are not settled science. In case you haven’t noticed, there is nowhere near consensus on gun control. Murthy’s position (and activism) puts him on one side of a very hotly debated topic. Pretending that everyone who disagrees with you is a “science denier” and an implied idiot does nothing for your argument. The bottom line is that guns are a tool. They only cause harm if a human decides to use them for harm. Therefore an analogy that equates guns to a pathogen is a false one, and pretending that doctors are authorities on guns or gun crime is laughable.

        • LarryRow

          “Despite what you assert, the solutions to gun violence are not settled science.”

          Yeah, no kidding. The NRA has prevented the CDC from even studying it. The Fingers In My Ears and Sing La La La lobby would be a better name for the NRA.

          In the medical community, yes, there is some consensus on guns. I mean, did you even read the article?

          • Dan Dan

            Did you read my comment? Consensus in the medical community about gun policy is about as relevant as consensus among nuclear physicists about interior decorating.

          • LarryRow

            Something that kills north of 30,000 Americans annually sounds pretty relevant to people whose job it is to keep people healthy and alive.

          • jkey

            More children die in swimming pools each year but you don’t hear about doctors lobbying to ban swimming pools. Your argument is a straw man argument.

          • LarryRow

            The position of the AMA and other health advocates is not to ban all guns but to consider them a health risk, research their effects, and pursue sensible legislation to regulate them. Meanwhile, doctors do talk about the dangers of uncovered, unsupervised swimming pools. I don’t think you know what straw man means, because you invoked one and I did not.

          • Ravi32

            so you agree we need new limits on the fourth and fifth amendment pushed by the surgeon general .
            persons on bail commit violent crime at 32x the rate of the general population. Time to drastically reduce bail in the name of public health right?

          • fun bobby

            we need background checks for swimming pools!

          • GoodbyeUSA

            Guns are not a health risk in my city or home. Yet this activist promotes using a pediatricians office as a means of regulating my rights. By the way, just because you call something “sensible” or “common sense” doesn’t make it so. You know what would be “sensible?” Cutting the welfare programs and curtailing the teachers unions that are destroying American families. About 90-95% of gun violence is gang violence, domestic violence, or suicide. All driven by the rise of ‘the great society” in the last 60-70 years.

          • Dan Dan

            If you use broad generalities, then your logic makes sense, but I think that a doctor’s job is more focused than “keeping people healthy and alive”. In my opinion, a doctor’s role is to treat and prevent disease, and to use their knowledge and skill to repair damage to the body. This is why they study biology, chemistry, and medicine. They do not study criminology, nor do they study mechanical engineering. Therefore their suggestions about how to prevent or address crime, or their opinions about the mechanical properties of certain weapon designs carries little weight. Perhaps a more fitting analogy would be to ask a police officer (who’s job includes “keeping people alive”) to perform a heart transplant. While heart transplants can fit under the “keeping people alive” category, just because a police office preforms that role doesn’t mean that he has expertise in all areas of that description. I will concede that about 2/3 of the 30,000 number you quote are suicides. Some suicides probably fall under the medical category because of mental illness. If a doctor who has studied psychology wants to make mental health recommendations, that is well within his/her area of expertise.

          • Ravi32

            Nope. About 1,600 non criminals are killed with guns.
            1,400 onn criminals murdered, and of the 20,00 suicides the peer reviewed studies suggest about 100 would not happen by other means if all guns were removed. That leaves about 320 accidental deaths not related to hunting (which like skiing, skateboarding etc is dangerous), and over 85% of those are in homes with illegal guns and criminal gun owners

          • Dan Dan

            By the way, why should the Center for Disease Control study crime and gun ownership, unless they have the preconceived idea that guns or gun owners are a pathogen. If you already see guns as a societal ill, then you can not be expected to produce an unbiased scientific study on the matter.

          • LarryRow

            Good scientists always entertain the null hypothesis. The CDC can and should study whether gun violence is preventable, what effect gun ownership has on a person and a household, if any, and what effect various regulatory solutions might have, if any. That they have been prevented from doing so leads any rational observer to believe that someone is afraid they might find something controversial.

            At the very least, some government body should be trying to answer these questions. If not the CDC then who? Right now it’s no one.

          • Dan Dan

            The problem with a government body conducting this research is that the government body has to be commissioned by politicians to conduct the study. Gun control is such a partisan and polarized subject that I don’t trust the impartiality of either party on the matter. If the Republicans commission a study it will likely have different results than if the Democrats commission a study. Unfortunately, right now, many studies are paid for by either Bloomberg or the NRA and I hold the conclusions to be somewhat dubious. I don’t see how a body like the CDC can do an impartial study when they evidently already see guns in a negative light, evidenced by the fact that they consider guns a health risk in the first place. I would expect the likelihood of the CDC finding that gun ownership leads to increased safety about as high as the NRA finding that gun ownership decreases health. We need a non-partisan body to conduct the research. Unfortunately currently, there are very few people who both hold a neutral view on guns and also have the desire to study their societal impact.

          • LarryRow

            The CBO is a non-partisan government entity and it does pretty well. There is no reason to assume that the CDC couldn’t produce similar results. As you say there is no one else. It is indeed quite telling that the NRA blocks the pursuit of knowledge on this topic.

            And we clearly have a problem when gun fetishists refuse to even acknowledge that guns are definitely a problem, or hold the belief that considering them a problem is partisan/biased. 30,000+ annual deaths and rising is obviously a problem.

          • Dan Dan

            Actually gun homicides are decreasing. They are about half what they were 20 years ago. But, I would argue that guns are not a problem at all. It is the misuse of guns that is the problem. You may think that is a slight distinction, but for me if shifts the focus of the solution away from the gun itself and to the people who are committing the crimes.

          • LarryRow

            I disagree on several points. It sure would be nice if we had a non-partisan body commissioned to study this stuff, so we’d have a common baseline from which to argue.

          • Dan Dan

            I am afraid that you and I are both disqualified due to our obvious biases. I suppose we just have to go with what we’ve got.

          • Dan Dan

            This from an NPR article:
            “Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49 percent lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew,” according to the Pew study. “The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75 percent lower in 2011 than in 1993.”

            Although they also found that only 12% of the of the population knew that gun related homicide rates were decreasing.

            I think that we can agree that NPR is not generally a shill for the gun lobby. We are moving in the right direction, even with the increase in the number of privately owned guns.


          • LarryRow

            Yes, crime has gone down considerably since the 80s, for a whole lot of reasons. But total gun deaths are on a gradual upward trend. You’re right that the doctors and the CDC employees are not criminologists. They should study the whole problem.

            It’s also misleading to say that firearm ownership is up. The number of households with a firearm and the number of individuals who own a firearm is going down. The increase is due to gun owners buying additional guns beyond the ones they already own.

          • Ravi32

            Larry, total gun death is a canard. 2/3 are suicides. Suicides will occur at the same rate with no guns. look at Japan. It has 50% more suicide than us.
            I jumping in front of a train better in your mind?
            And the number of household with firearms is INCREASING. Even the GSS showed it going form 60 million to 80 million admitting in tin the past 15 years.
            Gallup shows current between 43 to 48% right now, which maybe an all time high.
            And Gallup notes that ADMITTING g gun ownership to a pollster is likely at an all time low knocking off 10% or so of actual gun owners from responding.
            GSS with a more narrow survey show about 33%, but their figures for washignton DC showed 8,000 extrapolated houseolds with guns, and in fact the DC firearms office says 27,000 registered households with about 40,000 guns in the past five years alone!

          • LarryRow

            “Suicides will occur at the same rate with no guns.”

            Blatantly false. I don’t know if you’re ignorant or just a liar, but gun suicides are more common in places where guns are more prevalent. I didn’t bother to read the rest of your poorly formatted mess.

          • Ravi32

            Lets go with new study groups and funding to study the issue of warrants for searches of everyday caimanss. We need sensible regulations that eliminate that need

          • Ravi32

            try 1,600 deaths of non criminals
            Your “and rising is telling. Gun murder is Plummeting

          • LarryRow

            “Your “and rising is telling. Gun murder is Plummeting”

            And your choice to ignore large segments of the data is even more telling. Your only care about what you can spin, because you don’t want anyone to touch your guns. Shameful.

          • Ravi32

            the ACLU opposes weighting public health risks of the fourth and fifth amendments.

          • Ravi32

            The ACLU prevents the CDC from studying the affect of bail laws.
            Please list the CDC studies of health costs of Miranda, bail for violent criminals. and the fourth and fifth amendments generally which cycle criminals onto our streets

          • GoodbyeUSA

            I know doctors that carry firearms while in surgery.

      • GoodbyeUSA

        Then all major medical organizations are left wing political propagandists. Thanks for warning us!

    • tnlib

      I can’t imagine why I’d think you are a paid troll for the NRA! My goodness. “I voted for Obama twice.” I call bulls**t to that and all the other NRA talking points. You people couldn’t compose an original thought without them writing it out for you.

      • Matthew Patrick Barnson

        And yet when you “call bulls**t” to that, you’re still incorrect. I formed my opinions on this issue before reading a word of what the NRA had written. I voted for Obama twice, I’m an atheist, a moderate (here in Utah they call moderates “liberals”), pro-choice, pro-marriage (both homo and hetero), pro-gun yet the sole firearm I’ve ever purchased is a small pistol for self-defense. I’ve never been a member of the NRA and have no intention of ever joining them, yet I still think I probably ought to join the ACLU as I far more often agree than disagree with their point of view. I’m a Republican and participate in my local caucus, but have never in my life voted the party line.

        Murthy’s position on this issue does NOT represent a consensus opinion of the American people. Based upon the web site of the organization he founded, I believe this Surgeon General candidate intends to overstep the bounds of his office and redefine the second amendment in the name of “public health”. Therefore he should not be approved to sit in the office; I value all my inalienable rights. And there are millions of others like me: moderate to liberal individuals who believe no provision of the Bill of Rights should be rescinded without passage of a Constitutional amendment authorizing it.

        Interesting that you dispute the truth of my claims and resort to ad hominem — claiming that in some way I’ve said anything untrue, when I post under my real name and obviously have not said anything untrue — rather than providing a defensible rebuttal to my plain statements of fact.

        That word you chose — “Troll” — I believe perfectly describes your demonstrated, execrable online behavior.

        • tnlib

          Well stated and I did resort to ad hominem, which isn’t my usual custom, therefore I deleted my comment. This man is not the only doctor or even surgeon general who has called gun safety a matter of public health:

          “The mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary and the death by gun fire of other youngsters like Chicago student Hadiya Pendleton, 15, drew my attention to another article by C. Everett Koop. In 1992, he wrote an editorial for the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Time to Bite the Bullet Back.” Koop and co-author George Lundberg, MD argued that violence is a public health issue that could be addressed more effectively by an interdisciplinary approach. The Surgeon General indicated that his views on gun violence were informed by his 1985 Workshop on Violence and Public Health.

          “No society, including ours, need be permeated by firearm homicide. …The right to own or operate a motor vehicle carries with it certain responsibilities…we propose that the right to own or operate a firearm carries with it the same prior conditions.”

          Their criteria were:

          be of a certain age and physical/mental condition

          be required to demonstrate knowledge and skill in proper use of that firearm

          be monitored in the firearm’s use, and

          forfeit the right to own or operate a firearm if these conditions are abrogated.

          They added:

          “These restrictions should apply uniformly to all firearms and to all U.S. inhabitants across all states through a system of gun registration and licensing for gun owners and users. No grandfather clauses should be allowed.”

          I won’t even engage in an argument re the second amendment with anyone other than a constitutional scholar or attorney. There’s more mythology and misinterpretations surrounding it by victims of the Dunning Kruger effect than there are interpretations of the Bible.

          Have a good day.

        • tnlib

          By the way, do you have a link to Murthy’s web page. I’d like to read it myself in light of the following:

          “As a practicing physician who cares deeply about our country’s public health, I am appalled. The primary basis for rejection of Dr. Vivek H. Murthy for surgeon general? His stance on gun violence, even though he stated during his nomination hearings that “I do not intend to use my office as surgeon general as a bully pulpit on gun control,” giving obesity prevention instead as his top priority.”

          While I tried to delete my original comment, you’d be very mistaken to think that I believe for one minute that you voted for Obama or any of the other claims you made.

          • Matthew Patrick Barnson


            The page and letters Murthy wrote that aroused the ire of gun owners like me is here:

            I haven’t seen any other objectionable pages at Murthy’s site. But other than providing sports-medicine types of advice and diagnoses for shooters akin to that provided for other sports, I oppose re-framing the right to keep and bear arms as a public health issue. I am a strong supporter of the PPACA — “Obamacare” — and wanting to ensure the much-needed revamp of the American health care system could succeed was the primary reason I voted for him the second time.

            I suspect that had Koop created an organization aimed at red-taping personal firearm ownership out of existence as Murthy has, he’d also have not been seated. Regardless, Koop’s public opinion regarding firearms appears to be dated from several years *after* he vacated the position of Surgeon General. Therefore, Murthy’s efforts to re-frame the debate about gun ownership from one of inalienable rights to one of public health is still a new and transparent attempt to make an end-run around the Constitution. We have a process for those who wish to limit their right to personally own and bear arms: pass a Constitutional Amendment.

          • tnlib

            You’re being very disingenuous. First of all, this is not his personal website. He is the director and CO-FOUNDER of Doctors for America. There is nothing to indicate that he wrote anything on the page to which you link and I see nothing objectionable about any of it. In fact, THERE IS NO MENTION OF GUNS WHATSOEVER ON IT. There are over 16,000 members of this very honorable organization with supporters from equally reputable professional groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Cardiology, and American Osteopathic Association, among others – which can be viewed here:

            Obviously you and the NRA are out to besmirch anyone and any organization that doesn’t agree with you at whatever costs, including lies, to their reputations personally and professionally. Sure smells like fascism to me. I’m through with this conversation.

          • Matthew Patrick Barnson

            You obviously didn’t read close enough.
            Read the letter to the Vice-President. Right on the page I linked.
            Read the letter to Congress. Right on the page I linked.
            Read Murthy’s signature on the bottom of both documents.

            There’s no way you could miss it if you bothered to, you know, actually READ the content from Doctors For America to which I linked.
            The letter to Congress, signed by Murthy, linked from that very page:
            The letter to the Vice-President, signed by Murthy, linked from that very page:

            After all this evidence which you’ve purposefully ignored and the absolutely truthful statements about my own background, interests, and voting record which you have called lies, I can only come to the conclusion that you are trolling for conflict and interested only in smearing those with whom you disagree rather than attempting to find any common ground.

            You’re welcome to have the last word. I’m outta here.

          • tnlib

            I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing but you’re a friggin liar of the pants on fire variety. None of the links that you provided in your latest comment – allegedly a letter to Congress and another to the “Vice-President” – were even contained in the comment you originally posted. The only links you offered up were duplicates that linked to the home page. Interestingly, I could not find either of these letters anywhere on their site but I did find press releases about many, many other issues that had nothing to do with guns. YOUR links go to something somewhere else and altogether different in BOTH cases.

            You, sir, are a fraud.

    • Richard Hussong

      Personally, I think it was foolish of the founding fathers to include gun ownership as a constitutional right, but the second amendment is there, and it is not going away. What power do you imagine the Surgeon General has to abrogate the Constitution? Why get so worked up about his personal opinions, even on a subject that is clearly very important to you, but which really has nothing to do with the post he is seeking?

      • Matthew Patrick Barnson

        Quote: “What power do you imagine the Surgeon General has to abrogate the
        Constitution? Why get so worked up about his personal opinions, even on a
        subject that is clearly very important to you, but which really has
        nothing to do with the post he is seeking?”

        We’ve been over this territory in the discussion thread before, but I’ll reiterate on the assumption you missed it amidst all the noise. :-) His personal opinions on the subject have nothing to do with the opposition I hold toward him holding this position. I also doubt his opinion on the subject matters much for the up to 48%* of Americans who have guns in their home.

        What matters is his public and repeated advocacy through his web site — Doctors For America — that your freedoms be further reduced in the name of public health. He wrote repeated letters to Congress and the Vice-President advocating this position.

        I wouldn’t oppose Murthy’s nomination if he simply held the opinion that guns are a public health issue. In fact, some of his proposals make a lot of sense! However, writing a comprehensive plan to roll back Constitutional rights in an extra-judicial and extra-legislative manner, signed by your own hand, and then securing a nomination to put that exact plan into practice is something else entirely.

        (*Depending on which polling method you think is correct; 48% is the Gallup figure, while a few others place it as low as 32%.)