Shooting holes in a doctor’s anti-gun argument

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is one that has caused more philosophical, political and occasionally physical fights than almost any other in one of this country’s founding documents, save the First Amendment. Whether or not citizens should be toting guns is an argument that really gets heated, as those who don’t have guns question why those who do feel it’s necessary to have those guns.

I’m one on the pro-gun side. I just believe that if someone intends you harm, you should have the necessary means to defend yourself and neutralize the threat. Sometimes a baseball bat or knife isn’t enough.

There are some who would disagree with me. That’s fine, as the First Amendment allows us to have our own views on matters. However, if you’re going to exercise your First Amendment rights, I feel it’s only fair that your opinions be based on facts and/or common sense.

The daily paper serving my hometown published a letter to the editor in Sunday’s edition against guns. Here is what Dr. Paul Nault of Prescott, had to say on the matter.

“I am a family medicine physician in the community, concerned with the idea of private guns in public places. From the articles I have seen in the Courier, I do not have the confidence that these gun-carriers have the training to hit the broad side of a barn in a combat situation, nor the conflict resolution skills to defuse a bad situation without gunfire. To have the privilege to maintain health or save lives, physicians are monitored for competency, continuing education and malpractice coverage. The private gun in public places is to be attached to a human who has satisfied similar criteria in order to have the privilege of taking a life and dealing with unintended consequences of innocent bystander death, should that arise.”

I certainly agree with the idea that if you’re going to carry a gun, you should get some training to use it properly. We’re trained to drive cars before we get a license to do it full-time. However, the good doctor’s assertion that most of the gun carriers he reads about are unable to aim and hit a target is rather bold, not to mention judgmental. That would be like me assuming he is incapable of diagnosing disease.

He also states in the same sentence that he believes gun-carriers are unable to consider peaceful solutions to a hazardous problem without pumping someone full of hot lead. Once again a judgment call based on stereotypes. I am curious how many cases of accidental injury via a gun he has treated as a family medicine physician.

If he had credentials as an emergency room physician and presented reliable statistics to provide a factual basis for his argument, I’d probably let the issue go, even though I disagree with him. Even if he presented real-life experience, such as losing a loved one to gun violence, I wouldn’t be so hot under the collar. He doesn’t, though. He makes far-fetched blanket statements without a shred of evidence to back them up. I’m not sure I would trust Dr. Nault’s diagnoses as a physician if this is how he addresses problems.

Of course, the one statement in Dr. Nault’s letter that really drove me over a cliff was the assertion that gun owners need to earn the privilege of taking a life. Since when is taking a life a privilege? Where is it written in the Constitution that we are privileged to kill? Life itself is a privilege, and it’s sometimes taken for granted. However, I have to wonder how many responsible gun owners, when faced with deterring rapists or killers, dispatch them and then say, “Thank you. It’s been a privilege.”

There are doctors out there, even credentialed and trained doctors, who make mistakes that can prove fatal. To claim that gun owners lack the intelligence to handle their guns is truly elitist, and I would hope that if Dr. Nault’s life was saved by someone using their gun to halt an attacker, he would have the smarts to say, “Thank you” and not “Did you have to solve this problem the Neanderthal way?”

Besides, what would happen if we were to abolish guns in the United States? If you recall, we tried doing the same thing with alcohol, even going so far as establishing a Constitutional amendment. See how that worked out?

We should always to try to find a way to solve problems without resorting to violence and bloodshed. Still, don’t forget the old adage that if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.



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