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I'm hearing, recently, that unless you have ever owned a gun that you are not qualified to talk about guns. In the same vein, to a lesser extent, many politicians and advocates on TV start or end their argument with "I own a gun". First of all, I wish more women participating in arguments about female reproductive health would end their statements with "...and I own a vagina". But, second, I don't understand what owning a gun has to do with this debate.

Does that mean only people who have had a disease are qualified to talk about it? Would you take treatment advice from someone who says "I've had the disease" but is not a doctor?  Of course, it is more comforting to know that your doctor shares your pain, so you may feel more confidence if your doctor also suffers from a particular disease. But that, alone, does not qualify a person to give medical advice.

What does knowing how to use a gun, or owning a gun, have to do with gun control, which an aspect of epidemiological study?

In fact, I will argue here that, unless you understand how to conduct such epidemiological studies, you are not qualified to talk about gun control, even if you have ever owned a gun.

Why? Because science is done in a certain way that puts the burden of proof on the person trying to prove a point. This is called the null hypothesis. For example, if I want to argue that guns increase violence, I must start with the null hypothesis that guns do NOT increase violence. Unless I provide enough data that demonstrates more than a 95% likelihood that my results are not due to chance, I do not have enough evidence to rule out the null hypothesis.

Doctors, MPHs and scientists are also qualified in gathering data that represents the population- a very difficult task. We can understand this predicament, when we look at how polls were conducted during the last Presidential election. Polls that were done solely through landlines would ignore primarily cellphone users. So, outcomes of the polls would be skewed against young people.

Doctors, and MPH's have to account for these sorts of biases in epidemiological studies all the time. So it is natural, that people who have such a background be considered experts.

This is why President Obama's executive order for the medical community to study gun violence is so important. This is why NRA's effort to prevent doctors from gathering such data is so despicable.

This is why the most important piece of this argument is peer-reviewed scientific literature, including this study conducted in Australia by the respected journal Injury Prevention which concluded that:

Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms were followed by more than a decade free of fatal mass shootings, and accelerated declines in firearm deaths, particularly suicides. Total homicide rates followed the same pattern. Removing large numbers of rapid-firing firearms from civilians may be an effective way of reducing mass shootings, firearm homicides and firearm suicides.
Gun violence is a public health crisis. Show this study the same sort of respect that you show a doctor informing you on a medical condition.

Originally posted to coolelegans on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well said. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coolelegans, gffish, jan4insight, Miggles

    Guns have no place in society.  It's time to push back against the racist teabagger gun nuts and use our political capital to implement REAL gun control.

    I want these gun nuts to be utterly defeated and completely alienated from polite society.

  •  I don't know how an a-bomb works but... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, cama2008, Phil S 33, Miggles

    I know I don't want my neighbor to have one.

  •  One wishes that these same politicians who always (5+ / 0-)

    start their arguments with "I own a gun" would follow the reverse logic and disqualify themselves from any discussions on female reproductive rights or the effects of rape, since they don't own a vagina.

  •  It's a tool to silence (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, coolelegans, Miggles

    the other side.  By setting certain standards, such as, if you are even considering the idea that guns don't make you safer, researching the idea that guns don't make you safer, or if you haven't fondled or kissed a gun in the past 5 days, people think they then get to say "you have nothing to contribute to the conversation".  

    Why not set the standard at "If you have never had the opportunity to invoke the Stand Your Ground law, you are not qualified to contribute to the conversation."  It's just as arbitrary as saying "well if you ever once used the expression 'assault rifle' rather than 'military grade assault weapon', or WHATEVER THE HELL the currently approved NRA lingo is, you don't get to have an opinion.

  •  I only got to the first paragraph (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1

    are you suggesting that some old dried up male senator from Utah has as much insight into including birth control in the ACA as a woman does? Or should be making decisions about her reproductive choices?

    I'd probably have to disagree.

    headed back up to see about the next couple paragraphs.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:40:27 PM PST

  •  It has as much to do with it... (0+ / 0-)

    as having had a physical job provides the person with more credibility regarding the retirement age.

    Seriously, did anyone else notice the diary about old men who never had a physical job wanting to raise the retirement age to 70? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

    If it is okay to be dismissive of the opinion of members of congress who want to raise the medicare/social security eligibility age because those members haven't held a physical job since forever...
    Then it is okay to be dismissive of the opinion of members of DKos who want to write gun legislation because they have never experienced the gun-necessary aspects of rural or suburban life.

    To repeat, if kossacks can use the argument regarding pampered congress and retirement, then kossacks can use the argument regarding limited-experience life and guns.

    It's safe to trust a sane person with the keys to nuclear weapons, but it's not safe to trust an insane person with the cleaners under the kitchen sink. The answer is not gun control, it's people care.

    by JayFromPA on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:03:49 PM PST

    •  I don't own a gun (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gffish, Sandino

      and I am qualified to have an opinion about gun ownership.

      Life Experience:
          Threatened by people with guns. Check
          Had friends who committed suicide with a gun. Check
          Able to read news and research.  Check.

      You can probably guess what I think about unregulated access to firearms.

      So, you know,

      To repeat, if kossacks can use the argument regarding pampered congress and retirement, then kossacks can use the argument regarding limited-experience life and guns.
      go ahead and comment at that retirement issues diary, if you think your correction will make a difference.
      •  You missed what that was shortened from... (0+ / 0-)

        Please take the context entirely, instead of parsing an intentionally shortened form to antagonistic ends.

        If it is okay to be dismissive of the opinion of members of congress who want to raise the medicare/social security eligibility age because those members haven't held a physical job since forever...
         Then it is okay to be dismissive of the opinion of members of DKos who want to write gun legislation because they have never experienced the gun-necessary aspects of rural or suburban life.

        To repeat, if kossacks can use the argument regarding pampered congress and retirement, then kossacks can use the argument regarding limited-experience life and guns.

        WTF, people try to keep comments short, which necessarily extends some good faith toward the reader that the reader will expend at least a little effort into receiving the communication.

        If you MUST be antagonistic toward the very effort of communication, then go ahead and ignore the short "to repeat" paragraph, because it is just a rephrase of the longer and more excruciatingly explicit paragraph above.

        A reasonable person who did not intend to antagonize me for my attempt at communication would not have intentionally parsed that one bit the way you did.

        Jeez, and people wonder why it's so fucking hard to actually have a conversation around here... It's because of people like you who antagonize through intentional misreading.

        It's safe to trust a sane person with the keys to nuclear weapons, but it's not safe to trust an insane person with the cleaners under the kitchen sink. The answer is not gun control, it's people care.

        by JayFromPA on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 06:01:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What was your point? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alice in Florida, Sandino

          I thought you were suggesting that people who don't own guns aren't qualified to have an opinion about gun ownership.  I thought you were doing it by comparing the line of argument in a diary about an unrelated topic to the discussion in this diary.  And I thought you were making an unnecessary claim that comments on this website --as a body-- somehow must hew to an overarching conception of logical consistency, among 640,000 user IDs and across issues that may have little in common.

          If that wasn't your point, then I misread you.  In fact, in the context of the entire thread, it's possible you meant to agree with previous posters.

          I'm no longer sure what you meant to say, although I thought I understood you when I posted.  

    •  its also OK to dismiss doctors who never (0+ / 0-)

      had a disease I guess.

      We are arguing two different points. One is about the effectiveness of gun control, which is a scientific endeavor, and the other is how important 20 dollars a week is to a struggling senior. One is objective, and can be determined by science, the other is subjective and must be determined by asking seniors.

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