Bloomberg columnist Paul M. Barrett

This guy is great! He wrote a very insightful column on the NRA blocking the president’s choice for surgeon general.

He makes four points.

1. It’s ludicrous I completely agree. The nominated surgeon general has impeccable credentials, and while he holds the “standard urban liberal views” on gun control, his office has only a marginal attachment to that issue.

2. The Democrats are very, very afraid Maybe. I’m more interested that the nominee’s “skepticism of civilian gun ownership is based on firsthand experience in hospital emergency rooms” leads him to favor “a so-called assault weapons ban and mandatory safety training.” The train of logic there isn’t clear to me.

3.The assault weapons ban continues to haunt the Democrats Here we learn that the nominee is an outspoken proponent of re-instituting the “assault weapon” ban. Mr. Barrett points out that attacking those guns in the 90’s didn’t work; has nothing to do with lowering the number of homicides with handguns, which are responsible for the vast majority of firearm-related homicides, and it distracts from proposals to prevent the mentally ill and felons from acquiring firearms. Those are all great points. Further, he points out that no one can feasibly confiscate those weapons, so there is no ban.

4. The public health model for guns isn’t as obvious as liberals assume Here Mr. Barrett makes points that I’d never thought about. For example: “[the public health model] fails to appreciate and respect that law-abiding gun owners, and there are many millions of them, do not see themselves as disease vectors”, and “Moreover, the public health model doesn’t capture the thousands of instances each year when gun owners use their weapons to protect themselves.” In fact, the public health model does not allow for any benefit at all. It is designed to battle a phenomena that is unambiguously bad, such as viruses and disease bacteria. The second amendment, our long cultural history of gun ownership, self-defense, hunting, sport shooting, and so on, are necessarily assigned a zero weight.

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