Gun control: The assault on Congress by the medical journals by Miguel A. Faria, MD

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

In the wake of the heinous Las Vegas shooting, the medical politicians of the American Medical Association and the public health establishment — which is to the left side of politics on just about any topic even remotely related to medicine — have rallied to the cause of gun control political propaganda, rather than science. Toward the cause, they have resumed drumming up arguments that have been thoroughly refuted in the past. And this is true for the most prestigious medical journals, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the British Lancet.

Incidentally, this repetition of hackneyed and refuted data, I suppose given the prestige of the journals, is not due to ignorant negligence but to deliberate academic hubris because they consider themselves above the academic standards they tout but do not practice, such as the importance of the exchange of ideas so essential to intellectual freedom. But in truth, there is no such academic freedom but a monolithic establishment, and articles that have had the temerity of describing the beneficial aspects of guns are not published; their authors marginalized, ostracized and censored.

Most important, the editors of the prestigious medical journals in Britain and the United States are chosen so that they lean heavily to the left side of the political spectrum, and despite the gun control lessons of history, they consider it deplorable that the U.S. Constitution protects the right of citizens to own guns.

CDC in Atlanta, GeorgiaThis latest assault on the U.S. Congress aims toward forcing our representatives and senators to rescind the restrictions they placed on gun research at the CDC in 1996. At that time, Congress banned lobbying and the politicized and shoddy “gun research” that had been conducted by the CDC with the sole aim of promoting gun control at taxpayer expense. In other words, the elitist gun prohibitionists in the public health establishment want American taxpayers to resume funding their own disarmament with public health as the vehicle. So as a result, we are witnessing what seems a coordinated attack from these journals using the discredited public health model of guns as viruses that need eradication.

The editorial in Lancet began with the Las Vegas shooting and from there went on to suicide statistics. For the gun control prohibitionists, suicide statistics are essential because suicides outpace homicides every year by a 2:1 ratio, never mind that the arguments are wrong. The latest figures show that Japan ranks 26th in International Suicide Rates; the Japanese commit suicide via hanging, suffocation, jumping in front of trains, and Hara-kiri at a rate of 15.4 per 100,000, much higher than the United States. Americans rank 48th and the rate is 12.6 per 100,000. Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, and many other European countries that have higher rates of suicide than the U.S. — all have stricter gun laws. People bent on committing suicides should be treated for their depression, otherwise they will use whatever they have available, from ropes to pesticides to kill themselves, a veritable mental health crisis.

The article then referred to a higher prevalence of rural suicides in the United States, purportedly because of gun ownership: “More than 50 percent of suicides were by firearms (62 percent in rural areas), with the rate of firearm suicides in rural counties nearly double that of urban counties (10.5 vs. 5.4 deaths per 100 000).” Doctors For Responsible Gun Ownership has looked into the rural suicides. Dr. Thomas Gift, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical School, and a member of DRGO, investigated and recently debunked one of those studies alluded to in the Lancet editorial.

As many of the studies done by public health officials are prone to do, Dr. Gift found the study to be biased and poorly designed. Dr. Gift concluded, “While the authors claim to be comparing rural and urban data, the counties in Maryland they label as ‘rural’ seem to be largely suburban. They conduct numerous statistical tests without any attempt to control for the associations they call ‘significant’ but which arise solely by chance in the course of doing so many numerical manipulations.”

The Lancet editorial then lambasted the U.S. Congress and called for the lifting of the restrictions and the resumption of the shoddy and fraudulent gun research formerly conducted by the CDC. To raise the tempo of the accusation it called the restrictions a “scandal,” and then exhorted, “gun control advocates should be looking strongly at rescinding the abhorrent and nonsensical legal restrictions that keep the USA ignorant of the true toll of its gun violence.”

Congress should do no such thing, and in fact, there is no scandal. The fact is the CDC was restricted from conducting such gun studies because they were biased and politicized with preordained results, studies that could only be characterized as junk science and anti-gun propaganda. I was one of the four experts, who testified to the congressional committee that led to the ban in 1996. The “abhorrent and nonsensical” state of affairs are not with the common sense legal restrictions but with the flawed gun studies that were carried out until 1996 by the public health researchers funded by the CDC, gun studies that continue to come out from the burgeoning schools of public health. Money allocated to public health should go for the control of infectious and occupational diseases; money allocated to scientific research should go to the investigation of carcinogenesis, diseases of aging and epigenetics; money allocated for the study of gun crime should go to schools of criminology and law enforcement.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria M.D., Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International. He served at the behest of President George W. Bush as member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — 2002-2005. His website is

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Gun control: The assault on Congress by the medical journals., November 21, 2017. Available from:

This article was also published in and in,  November 20, 2017.

Copyright ©2017 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Comments on this post

CDC Deception Tool of the Left!

The FBI Homicide Table for 2015 lists 9616 homicides by firearm. During last year's presidential campaign, Hillary used the CDC figure of gun deaths: "We have 33,000 people a year who die from guns." The obvious problem with this number, which her allies the media never challenged but readily agreed, is it mixes homicides with suicides. I suspect accidents are also thrown in here too, since the CDC homicide rate is 11,008 while the FBI homicide rate is 9616 . (CDC figure is for 2014). However, Hillary's complaint is not about the US suicide rate; it is about gun control. Hence the need for deception.

Indeed people who wish to kill themselves or others will find a means to do so. Eliminating guns does not eliminate homicides or suicides. Japan's extreme gun control has not stopped their suicide. Japan's suicide rate that is 19.7 per 100,000 while the US rate is much lower at 14.3, according to the WHO site.

I understand why England pushes gun control; after all, a strong, central government with the heavy hand of socialism is not compatible with individual freedom to protect oneself from such a despotic government. Understandably, leftists here in the US long for this socialism here too. But why are physicians, as a profession, so overwhelmingly in favor of gun control? Or is this merely reflective of physicians in influential positions and not representative of the occupation as a whole.
Dr. Faria replies: Koba absolutely correct! They mix suicides and homicides statistics or separate them when it suits them. No, physicians in general are not for gun control. Many of them hunt and sport shoot, when they have time. But in the last several years they have been more mealy-mouthed about talking about those activities. They are also too busy to find out what their leaders are doing or relent because they are powerless to contend with the liberal medical editors. The medical editors are propaganda mouthpieces as my last two articles demonstrate, and despite paying lip service to academic freedom, they practice censorship.

Thus the liberal gun-grabbers can count on the leadership in the AMA and "organized medicine," particularly the pediatricians, the psychiatrists, and the public health establishment who have joined the bandwagon to pursue gun control.

Here is a telling statistic: 50 years ago the AMA membership was 75%. It had dropped dramatically to 15% now and most of them are employed salaried physicians or public health workers!

On the other hand, although a much smaller group, Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO) is growing.

Self-defense corner (GOA)

Although you may not have head of theses acts of self-defense or citizens helping police apprehend criminals [at least in the South] and other incidents that the mainstream media refuses to publicize, while at the same time bombarding us with criminal uses of guns:

“On December 5 a good woman with a gun saw a law enforcement officer being attacked and shot his alleged attacker with her handgun. The incident occurred outside a Chevron in Dawson County, Georgia.

“According to Fox 5, Sgt. Randy Harkness gave a homeless man a courtesy ride to the Chevron and was giving him some money when the man allegedly began assaulting the officer. A woman sitting in a car noticed the assault, grabbed her gun and stepped in to help the officer.

“The Chevron owner said the woman 'shot off a round. The guy got off the police officer and she shot another round and he was running that way I think, there was three shots.'

“Law enforcement indicates the homeless man was hit 'by at least one slug,' yet ran across the street to a McDonald’s where he allegedly punched a 75-year-old woman in the face. Authorities believe he was trying to steal the woman’s car. The homeless man was tackled by customers and held for police…”

from Gun Owners of America (GOA) — Self defense corner

A word from Lancet!

The monolithic wall of censorship remains. No criticism of their work is allowed! We should expect the same from JAMA, but outside medical circles the cat is out of the bag!

December 5, 2017
From: "The Lancet Peer Review Team”:

Dear Dr. Faria,

Thank you for submitting your Letter to The Lancet. Having discussed your Letter with the Editor, and weighing it up against other submissions we have under consideration, I am sorry to say that we are unable to accept it for publication. Please be assured that your Letter has been carefully read and discussed by the Editors. Thank you for your interest in The Lancet, I hope this decision does not deter you from considering us again in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Elizabeth Zuccala
Senior Editor
The Lancet

The more things change...NEJM

February 2, 2000
Dear Dr. Faria,

Your letter to the editor regarding the Wintemute article of November 19 has been accepted for publication in edited form in a forthcoming issue of the Journal and sent to the authors for their comments...

Gregory D. Curfman, MD
Deputy Editor, NEJM
March 7, 2000
Dear Dr. Faria,

I regret that we will not be able to publish your letter to the editor in response to the article to Wintemute et al. Because of other space priorities, we are unable to print the letter. I am sorry that we must change our decision...

Gregory D. Curfman, MD
Deputy Editor, NEJM
March 14, 2000
Marcia Angell, MD
Editor, NEJM

Dear Dr. Angell,
When you ascended to the post of Interim Editor of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) following the resignation of Dr. Jerome Kassirer, I applauded your promotion because, among other things, you had also courageously breached the wall of junk science being built around the issue of silicone implant litigation. Moreover, under Dr. Kassirer, when it came to the topic of public health and gun control, and to a lesser degree, Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and private medical care, NEJM took a decidedly liberal perspective, whereby only one point of view was promoted.

The other side was ignored or, let us say it, censored. More recently, the mainstream press has been critical of NEJM because it had violated its own policies on conflict of interest ethics. When on November 22, 1999, I sent a letter to the editor (addressed, incidentally, to you), responding to Dr. Wintemute et al's article, "Mortality Among the Recent Purchases of Handguns" in N Engl J Med 1999;341(21):1583-9, and after passing editorial review, was accepted for publication, I was particularly delighted and grateful for its acceptance in your esteemed journal (Correspondence #99-3859). I was delighted because as a Hispanic (and the NEJM has promoted diversity), it seems that NEJM was also now promoting diversity of intellectual views.

Unfortunately, my hopes came tumbling down. Yesterday, I received a letter from Gregory D. Curfman, M.D., Deputy Editor, NEJM. He stated: "I regret that we will not be able to publish your letter to the editor in response to the article by Wintemute et al. Because of other space priorities, we are unable to print the letter. I am sorry that we must change our decision."

...Given the content of my letter, I must assume that like the refrain says, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Intellectual freedom and social progress can only thrive in an atmosphere where there is a free and open exchange of ideas and information --- not censorship. I hope you can use your moral authority to reverse this decision. I remain hopeful that you can decidedly end this resurgence of lack of professionalism and ethics --- and return of censorship...

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD
Editor-in-Chief, Medical Sentinel
March 27, 2000
Dear Dr. Faria,

Thank you for your letter to Dr. Angell dated March 14. Regarding the correspondence on the Wintemute article, when we finally assembled it all, it was clear that we did not have sufficient space to explore all of the topics raised by that article. The central issue of your letter, that "guns are not the cause of suicide," is an interesting point, but one that we could not commit the space to assess in depth. [Emphasis added.] Thank you again for your interest in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Gregory D. Curfman, MD
Deputy Editor, NEJM

Gun control in Russia!

How Russians lost their own 2nd Amendment: The right to bear arms

Packing heat in the country is no easy task. You need to pass a strict background check and only then can you own a hunting rifle or pneumatic gun. Things were different when the tsars ruled over the land though: Every man and his dog owned a weapon.

In Tsarist Russia, people loved guns. Officers, merchants, students, respectable dames, and young ladies all had a favorite handgun, sometimes more than one. However, by the end of the 1917 Revolution the authorities had restricted the right to carry firearms.

Before the Revolution, guns were in abundant supply in major Russian cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg. Newspapers advertised Brownings, Nagants, Mausers, and other models of handgun which were as popular as they were affordable: A brand new Mauser would set you back 45 or so rubles, so there were also plenty of cheaper secondhand guns floating around; to put this into perspective, a janitor’s average monthly salary in Moscow was 40 rubles...

Total disarmament: The Bolshevik Revolution put an end to the free circulation of guns among the general public. The leaders of the uprising knew only too well what the masses were capable of, especially if armed up to the teeth, and moved to monopolize gun ownership.

In 1918 the Bolsheviks initiated a large scale confiscation of civilian firearms, outlawing their possession and threatening up to 10 years in prison for concealing a gun.

The only exception was made for hunters who were allowed to possess smooth bore weapons. Gun licenses, however, were strictly regulated and only issued by the NKVD, the police organization known for its role in Joseph Stalin’s political purges.

It was only a matter of time before Russia became an almost totally gun-free nation. Some people believed Russians would regain their right to own guns after the collapse of the Soviet Union but despite firearms becoming available on the black market during the 90s, the new government did not risk liberalizing the gun market.

Today, Russians can only legally buy smooth bore guns for hunting and sports, as well as pneumatic firearms for self-defense. Applying for a gun license also involves a pretty rigorous background check…
Note: Crime and gun homicides rates (with illegal guns and even more restricted military weapons) are greater in Russia than in the United States despite the restrictions. --- MAF