Essay:Medical Case Against Gun Control

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Two medical organizations have submitted briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court insisting that gun control is good for public health.[1][2]

Are they right? This essay, which welcomes suggestions by others, looks at the logic and evidence of the impact of gun control on public health.

Hitler was deterred from invading Switzerland during World War II in part for the same reason.

Medical Arguments Against Gun Control

The amici curiae brief of the American Public Health Association (APHA) argues that:[3]

While others address the legal standard that should govern this Court's scrutiny of the statutes at issue, amici submit the following empirical information regarding the effect of firearms, and in particular handguns, on the public's health. See, e.g., Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 U.S. 483, 494 & n.11 (1952) (empirical evidence informs constitutional analysis).

In fact, empirical evidence is virtually never used to interpret a constitutional provision, and was not used for that purpose in Brown v. Bd. of Educ. (expand). No credible theory of constitutional interpretation relies on or utilizes empirical evidence. Empirical evidence can be cited for amending or changing the Constitution, not reinterpreting it. Judicial activism might rely on empirical evidence, but any method of interpretation that adheres to the text of the Constitution would not.

The APHA cites Day v. State for the precedent that a state may place restrictions on the possession of bowie knives, but the Second Amendment does not protect a "right to keep and bear bowie knives."

The APHA concedes that defensive uses of guns are significant, and that some studies have shown that defensive uses of guns outnumber criminal uses. But the APHA attempts to discredit those studies by questioning their methodology. Notably absent from the AHPA's brief, however, is any recognition of the deterrent effect on crime of gun ownership. The AHPA does even mention deterrence or deterrent once in its entire brief. While that effect may be difficult to quantity, there is no denying its significance.

The amici curiae brief of the American Academy of Pediatricians makes a "for the children" argument for gun control and against an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. It calls the ownership of guns a "contagion" and insists that "children cannot be taught gun safety."


References

  1. http://www.gurapossessky.com/news/parker/documents/07-290acAmericanPublicHealthAssociation.pdf
  2. http://www.gurapossessky.com/news/parker/documents/07-290tsaAmerican Academy.pdf
  3. http://www.gurapossessky.com/news/parker/documents/07-290acAmericanPublicHealthAssociation.pdf (at p. 8)

Sources

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