Irresponsible Doctors for Gun Lobbying

Before we get into a real discussion of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, we’d like to note that their acronym is DRGO, making them a half-step short of being the bad guy in Rocky IV. Maybe less than a half-step . . .

Here’s the first thing you need to know: Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership is a front group. They aren’t really their own thing; they’re just the Second Amendment Foundation (“defending gun rights one lawsuit at a time”) by a different name.

Here’s the second thing you need to know: none of them are the kind of doctors who really have a clue about gun violence. Among the people they roll out for cameras are an ear, nose, and throat guy (the founder, Dr. Wheeler; we’ve got more on him below) and an orthopedic surgeon. No trauma surgeons, no ER doctors, no public health experts. You’d think that maybe they’d want people who actually know about gun violence to talk about the impact of gun violence. You’d be wrong though; the reason they don’t have any public health or trauma people is because almost none of the people who actually know about what gun violence does to the body and the community agree with them.

And here is the most important thing to know about Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership: they are radical extremists who disagree with nearly every expert in the fields the claim to be experts in (but aren’t actually experts in). Below are a few examples of their extremism:

John Edeen, one of their representatives and an orthopedic surgeon, spends a significant portion of his time lobbying hospitals to allow certain staff members to carry guns while working. We aren’t sure why he thinks that would be even a sort of good idea.

Timothy Wheeler, current Director of DRGO, was at least partially responsible for the current ban on the CDC researching gun violence. In a recent article he wrote for the NRA’s America’s First Freedom, Wheeler justified that by claiming that public health experts are “a group . . . known for its strong bias against private gun ownership.” As we’ve said before, and inevitably will say again as the gun lobby recycles its talking point, his entire argument is that the numbers, data, and research don’t confirm his worldview and, therefore, we shouldn’t allow them. Pure, willful ignorance is all that is.

Wheeler, still from that same article, tries to justify his opposition to research by pointing out that, in 1995, 37 doctors, lawyers, and professors signed a critical review of existing gun violence research. 37! That’s like half a clinic, a third of a law firm, and a quarter of a small college. Impressive. In contrast, there are literally thousands of doctors, professors, nurses, actual public health experts, and other experts calling on Congress to end the ban.

Here’s a last bit on Wheeler (for now; we’d guess he’ll say something ridiculous and offensive soon that we can talk about): he believes that the “ultimate test of science’s findings are whether reality bears them out.” He’s actually right. But there is a huge problem. Wheeler thinks that right-to-carry laws and the Heller decision somehow prove that the actual science he disputes is wrong. We’re not entirely sure how that makes even the least bit of sense. It probably doesn’t.

So here’s the concluding important bit: DGRO is a radical front group for the Second Amendment Foundation, made up of some number of gun-owning doctors who claim to know lots about gun violence and public health, but actually know next to nothing about gun violence and public health. That’s it, and they really don’t deserve any more respect than any other radical gun lobby front group.

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