Home / Medicine & Policy / Rand Paul Wants To Block Nation’s Top Doctor Over Gun Views

Rand Paul Wants To Block Nation’s Top Doctor Over Gun Views

By Brad Broker

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday made it clear that he does not like President Obama’s choice for Surgeon General and plans to roadblock nominee of Dr. Vivek Murthy.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.), Paul says he has “serious concerns about Dr. Murthy’s ability to impartially serve as ‘the Nation’s Doctor.'”

Turns out, this is just an old-fashioned gun fight.

Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Paul is a big supporter of all-things guns.  Or, said differently, he really doesn’t like it when people suggest laws that may prohibit universal gun ownership.  In fact, on his website, Paul says “I do not support any proposed gun control law which would limit the right to gun ownership.”

Dr. Murthy is a hospitalist, attending physician and instructor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School in Boston.  He also co-founded Doctors For America (DFA) — a group of 16,000 docs and med students advocating for high quality, affordable health care.  Doctors For America also believes in gun violence protection. “As health care providers, we work to protect our patients from deadly diseases like heart disease– it’s time to do the same for gun violence,” says the DFA website.

Sen. Paul does not like either of those platforms and, therefore, says Dr. Murthy is unqualified to be Surgeon General. “In his efforts to curtail Second Amendment rights, Dr. Murthy has continually referred to guns as a public health issue on par with heart disease and has diminished the role of mental health in gun violence,” said Sen. Paul.

The Mayo Clinic found in multiple studies that directly disputes the Sen. Paul’s concerns. According to Mayo Clinic researchers, “Most patients with mental illness have nothing to do with firearm deaths.” While “3%-5% of serious violent acts are directly attributed to mental illness,” Mayo Clinic says “most of these violent acts do not involve firearms.”

The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), among others, have all opposed any laws that prohibit physicians from openly discussing risks of firearms with patients.“Family physicians must be able to have appropriate medical conversations with our patients about gun safety,” said Jeffrey Cain, MD, president of the AAFP.

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