AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

Guns Aren’t a Virus. Stop Acting Like They Are.

Anti-gun lawmakers have fully and totally embraced a fairly new narrative in the debate over guns. In particular, they’re all seeming to get on the “public health emergency” train and are ready to keep chugging right over our right to keep and bear arms.

It’s become more and more obvious that what started out as yet another argument has picked up steam in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when people showed they were willing to accept extreme measures in the name of safety.

But as NSSF’s Larry Keane writes, guns aren’t viruses. They’re not a bacterial infection or some other form of communicable disease.

U.S. Senators bent on more gun control used a hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee to attempt to yet again diagnose violent crime in America as a public health disease. Their only proposed cure, of course, is more gun control.

In the eyes of one witness, it was another instance of gun control efforts putting their playlist on repeat, hoping that each time they play the same soundtrack they will somehow convince America that the only prescription to solving the revolving door of crime is to abandon Constitutionally-protected rights. The problem is crime is a behavior and not a disease, best addressed by strict enforcement of existing laws.

Not Crime. Public Health.

The hearing started with a video montage played by Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), highlighting many of the grotesquely-exploited images of mass murder incidents that were previously published by The Washington Post and earned media scorn. Sen. Durbin said in his opening statement, “Across the country, gun violence is a public health epidemic, plain and simple.”

Note the carefully chosen phrase. Sen. Durbin didn’t refer to criminal misuse of firearms or repeat violent offenders who prey on innocent lives. In his estimation, guns are a pathogen. Eradicating them, even for lawful owners, is the only way forward. The carefully-edited video was capped by a CBS News interview with Dr. Celine Grouner, Epidemiologist at New York University & Bellevue Hospital, to underscore Sen. Durbin’s attempt to reframe crime.

“I think reframing this as a public health crisis, you know I’m an infectious disease specialist, many of the people in my field have actually turned to gun violence recognizing that gun violence behaves like an infectious disease,” Grouner said. “It is contagious. Violence is passed on from person-to-person.”

Now, here’s the thing, Grouner isn’t completely wrong. There is a certain amount of violence that almost behaves like an infection disease. But this is based on the actions of individuals who make conscious choices, and even if you removed guns, you wouldn’t remove the impetus for violence.

See, what happens is that a person gets shot. Either they or someone else figures they need to act in response, so they commit an act of violence as revenge. It’s that “honor culture” thing.

Granted, some people also just get traumatized and they act out later because of that, versus having a personal stake in the shooting in question, which still leads to the spread of violence.

So, if a public health response means trying to sidetrack people from carrying out violence of their own, then great. I really think if we stuck to talking about that, we wouldn’t have so much dissention on the topic.

The problem is that too many people can’t see beyond guns.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) exposed the reality of what this reframing attempt really is. He pointed to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency public health order that attempted to suspend the Second Amendment rights of citizens in certain parts of her state.

“She was warned repeatedly by officials in her state that such a suspension violated the Constitution,” Sen. Cornyn said. “But unfortunately, that doesn’t mark the end of the road for this latest attack on what is a Constitutional right. That’s something some of our colleagues consistently overlook and the fact is that a firearm in the hands of a law-abiding citizen is not a threat to public safety.”

‘Trust Issue’

Sen. Cornyn wasn’t done exposing the ruse.

“Washington Democrats have, unfortunately, chosen to follow Governor Grisham’s lead and are now using public health as a guise to address their concerns,” he added.

Grisham kind of gave the gig up with what she pulled. It’s never going to be limited to the public health aspects that can and should fall into the medical profession’s lane.

No, it’s going to spill over into the Second Amendment debate and be used to try and justify taking people’s guns away.

It’s going to be lockdowns and mask mandates all over again, only tailored for guns.

Grisham decided to ban the lawful carry of guns, something she had no constitutional authority to do. The fact that she thought she could get away with it illustrates just how demented the whole “public health” thing can get.

She also got smacked down over it from even her side of the aisle.

But that doesn’t mean the next guys will know better and leave our gun rights alone. It just means they’ll be sneakier about how they attack them.

And that’s why the whole public health argument is going to be a problem. It won’t stay in the realm of what public health professionals can do. It’ll enter the realm of what lawmakers want to make us do.

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