When the NRA or one of its minions goes after pediatricians, the way they are now going after Doctor Judith Palfrey and the American Academy of Pediatrics, they have fallen off the cliff. This isn’t just more proof that the leadership has come under some extremist, radical spell. To me it means they have entered goofy-land. And it scares me because I’m a member of the NRA. I don’t like to think that this organization, which I joined in 1955, could now be led by people who have completely lost their minds. The NRA didn’t attack Dr. Palfrey and the AAP directly. It was done for them by an interesting sub-group called Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. The head of this group, which claims “1,400 doctors, health care professionals, scientists and others nationwide,” is a physician named Timothy Wheeler. This organization doesn’t even make a pretense of being rooted in science or fact and coming from other physicians, its attack on Judith Palfrey and the AAP, is a professional disgrace. According to Dr. Wheeler, Dr. Palfrey “was recently the president of the notoriously anti-gun rights American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which urges doctors to pressure their patients to get rid of their guns.” That statement is simply a lie. This past January, the AAP produced a Policy Statement: “Preventing Firearm-Related Injuries in the Pediatric Population.” It is the official AAP statement on gun ownership as it relates to the health and welfare of children and it was published after the Sandy Hook massacre. I am assuming that Dr. Wheeler read this statement which is why I am calling him a liar. If he didn’t read it, he’s a fake. Either way, here’s the AAP’s official position on guns:
Counsel parents who possess guns that safe storage (locked
and unloaded) and preventing access to guns reduces injury
(by as much as 70%), and that the presence of a gun
in the home increases the risk for suicide among adolescents.
Physician counseling, when linked with the distribution
of cable locks, increases safer home storage of firearms.
See anything here about getting rid of guns? See anything here about not owning guns? See anything here about being notoriously anti-gun? Well, I guess that if you believe that leaving guns unlocked around the house makes you anti-gun, then that makes most gun owners, including me, anti-gun. In the interests of full disclosure, I happen to be married to a pediatrician. She has no problem with the fact that I own a gun shop because she knows that I understand what gun safety really means. She knows that I counsel my customers about gun safety the same way she counsels her patients. I guess this makes us both anti-gun, right Dr. Wheeler? Judith Palfrey is among the most respected, eminent pediatricians in the United States. She has passionately and pragmatically argued for child health priorities over a long and distinguished career. She deserves a seat at any table when the issue of gun safety is discussed. What she doesn’t deserve is to have her views distorted by a toady for the NRA. The NRA leadership can reclaim their credibility by renouncing Timothy Wheeler’s reckless and false statements. They don’t need to look for enemies under every bed. They need to come out from the extremist rock under which they have crawled, join with groups like Evolve and contribute to finding sensible solutions to gun violence.