Ronald Reagan famously said, “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine.” He believed that government programs ostensibly meant to address public health crises would inevitably chip away at our personal liberties. For evidence that Reagan was right, one need look no further than Obamacare’s mandate requiring all Americans to buy government-approved insurance. The pretext for that travesty involved the alleged menace to public health posed by the uninsured. This year’s Democrat Party Platform has identified another public health threat against which the government must take action — gun violence.
Under the heading, “Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans,” the following sentence appears: “There is insufficient research on effective gun prevention policies, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] must have the resources it needs to study gun violence as a public health issue.” This attempt to pitch gun control as a public health crisis is not new, of course. Two years ago, the Democrats introduced a bill that would have provided the CDC with $10 million a year to study gun crime from the public health perspective. And, in June of this year, the American Medical Association declared that gun violence is a public health crisis.
This is, however, the first time that a Democrat Party platform has formally categorized gun control as a public health issue. Even the 2012 platform put the issue under “Protecting Rights and Freedoms” and stuck to the usual talking points about gun show loopholes, strengthening background checks, banning assault weapons, ad nauseam. By converting gun violence from a law and order issue to a health crisis, Hillary Clinton and her accomplices hope to achieve two goals: Move the public’s focus away from crime prevention, a task at which Democrats are notoriously inept, and convince us that it’s all about scientific progress rather than increasing the power of the federal government.
And the claim that gun violence is an epidemic is, quite frankly, an insult to the intelligence of the voters. It is nothing more than a pseudo-scientific veneer that Clinton and the co-conspirators who cobbled together the Democrat Party platform have attached to a transparently political project.To illustrate just how absurd it is to use such terms as “epidemic” in discussions about gun control, Dr. Paul Hsieh asks the following question in Forbes: “Which of these things is not like the other? (1) Measles, (2) Influenza, (3) Tuberculosis, (4) Murder. If you picked #4, ‘murder,’ you’re right. The first three are medical diseases. In contrast ‘murder’ is not a medical problem, although it is a tragic cause of death.”
Even if murder qualified as a medical problem, it is an “epidemic” that is being brought under control. That may seem counter-intuitive to a public inundated by sensational media stories about mass murders committed by “lone wolves.” Yet it is true that both violent crime in general and murder in particular have been declining for decades. As Nick Gillespie reports in Reason, “In 1995, for instance, the violent crime rate (which includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) per 100,000 inhabitants was 684.5. In 2014, it stood at 365.5. For murder and non-negligent manslaughter, the rate was 8.2 and 4.5 in 2014.” In other words, violent crime and murder rates have been cut in half.
But what about gun violence? Surely it’s obvious that the number of crimes committed with guns is skyrocketing. Nope. As the Washington Post reports, “In 1993, there were seven homicides by firearm for every 100,000 Americans, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2013, that figure had fallen by nearly half, to 3.6.” Moreover, the number of gun crimes that failed to result in the victim’s death has dropped by 75 percent over the same period of time. And, remember, that these dramatic declines occurred during a period of time in which private, legal gun ownership and concealed carry licenses have proliferated.
During her acceptance speech last week, Clinton made the following claims: “I’m not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not here to take away your guns.” With all due respect to the Democrat nominee, which is precious little, she was telling another of her trademark lies. Of course she’s here to take the guns. Indeed, the very claim that her platform makes about insufficient research contains the mother of all Freudian slips. In case you missed it, note that it refers not to research into the prevention of gun violence, but to “research on effective gun prevention policies.” Prevention of private gun ownership has always been, and remains her ultimate goal. Why? Think about it.