Words on Guns: A Pediatrician’s Perspective

As a pediatrician I have been fighting for sensible gun law for a while. I lost 3 of my small patients to gun violence. So, useful info on how to discuss guns with gun fans:

An AR 15 is an “Armalite Rifle,” after the manufacturer Armalite. Gun nuts will ask you what AR stands for. Don’t say assault rifle or they will dismiss everything else you say.

The problem is the high velocity bullets (they go through a child’s body so rapidly that they destroy tissue 6 inches around a bullet entry), rapidity of fire, and high capacity magazines (more than 10 bullets in a magazine is not necessary unless you want to kill humans). Use those terms.

If they talk about there already being background checks? Only licensed gun dealers are required to do them, and reporting is not mandatory. We need universal background checks with mandatory reporting.

They talk about how Chicago has gun restrictions but still has gun violence? It is because Indiana, across the road, has no restrictions. Easy to cross a road.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”? That’s why we want background checks on the people, not the guns.

“Car accidents kill kids too”? Yes, that’s why we require driver training, a license, registration, and liability insurance. Also why we have traffic law to regulate their use.

We need:

  • to require safe storage of guns.
  • to keep bump stocks and kits that change semiautomatics into automatics illegal.
  • either magazines that cannot be exchanged (rather, need to be reloaded), take more time to replace, or take 2 hands to replace.
  • to limit the amount of ammunition people can buy, like we do pseudoephedrine.
  • to require licensing, registration, and liability insurance. Let the insurance companies pay for the mental health check and decide which guns are too dangerous to insure. The gun lobby and the insurance lobby can have a conversation.
  • red flag laws, the same in every state.

It is generally impossible to sue shielded gun manufacturers (although one case recently did succeed), and was previously against the law for the CDC to fund any research into gun violence – very unusual restrictions passed purely to protect gun manufacturers. The Dickey Amendment, passed in 1996, was recinded in 2018, but we lost decades of research.

The NRA funnels money from gun manufacturers to politicians on both sides – mostly Republican, but some Dems. There is dark money given that is untraceable, so we really don’t know who is on their payroll. The NRA actually supported Bernie Sanders when he first won office because he promised to never vote for any law that put in a waiting period for hand guns (and he never has).

The top ten traceable donations:

  • Mitt Romney $13,637,676
  • Richard Burr $6,987,380
  • Roy Blunt $4,555,752
  • Thom Tillis $4,421,333
  • Cory Gardner $3,939,199
  • Marco Rubio $3,303,355
  • Joni Ernst $3,124,773
  • Rob Portman $3,063,327
  • Todd C Young $2,897,582
  • Bill Cassidy $2,867,074

We need to educate ourselves to even begin the push for change, because what we are doing now is not working.

Gun lobbies only care about sales, while kids are dying.

Lets do this.

3 thoughts on “Words on Guns: A Pediatrician’s Perspective

  1. Dear Dr. Lovlie, I’ve written all the current Senators on your list in order to address gun reform and used your main talking points as my source. I gave you credit in my emails/mail to them. I also added Mitch McConnel and Kevin McCarthy to my recipients. I’d like to send you my email and get your permission to send this to The Denver Post. Please let me know where I might email you the letter. Thank you, Rhonda S Valdez

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