• 08/21/2018 3:16 PM | Anonymous

    By William R Fox Sr, Genesee County Scope Chair 

    This letter is in reference to some of our elected officials who are demanding that anyone who is on the no-fly list be blocked from buying a firearm and, possibly, have their firearms confiscated. 

    Sounds like a great idea for everyone's safety doesn't it? The people of this country really need to think about this. 

    You ask why? You don't agree with this statement? 

    How does one get on this list? Are there definite guidelines on how someone is placed upon it? Mistakes have been pointed out; such as the late Senator Ted Kennedy and even US military members being on the list. 

    Is it because you might not agree with the politicians or our leaders about how things should be done? (Note: Remember they work for us.) Is it because of your religious beliefs? Is it because of how your name is spelled or how it sounds? 

    Is it because of how many firearms you buy? 

    I don't know how it's done and that's what scares me. I don't think anybody does. 

    What are the guidelines and who sets them? 

    Ok, let’s say you find out that you are on this list. How do you get off of it? If you are able to correct the error, at what cost will it be to you and your family-both emotionally and financially? What are the guidelines for defending yourself against something you knew nothing about? People, we need to really think about this because there are so many questions that our leaders don't seem to think, or don't care to think about. 

    All of this points out one definite, dangerous fact…our Constitutional rights are unapologetically being infringed upon by the government. They are blatantly disregarding the people’s right to due process. The American Civil Liberties Union is currently suing the Obama administration because of this violation of our rights. 

    People in this country are scared of what they don't understand. 

    Please take the time to educate yourself and then let your elected officials know where you stand. 

    One man's opinion. 

  • 08/21/2018 1:45 PM | Anonymous

    By Robert B. Young, MD

    President Obama is now using executive actions to fill in certain "gun safety" gaps in our present hodgepodge of laws and regulations. One might wonder whether he is motivated not only by the possibility of "saving just one life" but also by the fact that most of the nation disagrees with him about the need for further gun control and about his right to rule by fiat.

    Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO) works hard to cover the often discouraging intersection of health care and gun rights. This effort required watching in word-for-word, tear stained, excruciating detail the January 5 White House press conference and CNN's January 1,2016 Guns in America town hall from George Mason University. It meant reading the President's January 7,2016 opinion piece in the New York Times, ''Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility and all 56 pages of the federal Department of Health and Human Services Final Rule 45 Combined Federal Regulation (CFR), Part 164, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), published January 6, 2016. We shoulder these unpleasant tasks so you don't have to. 

    One outcome of the President's announcement is great concern that physicians and mental health care providers will now be reporting everyone's mental illness to the FBI, which runs the NICS. We all want to identify people who are prohibited from buying guns for good reason. but the prospect that anyone in emotional distress could be prohibited from legal gun ownership for life is reasonable cause for panic. It would devastate the privacy necessary to the trusting relationships that treatment requires. 

    Yet only a tiny fraction of violent perpetrators are found among the mentally ill, people who are far more likely to become victims than attackers. Half of all Americans experience at least one episode of diagnosable psychiatric illness during their lifetimes. Prohibiting all of those would vastly restrict the number of Americans who could retain their constitutional right to keep and bear arms over time. 

    The fear of their guns being confiscated could also increase the chances that many in need of psychiatric treatment, and perhaps those at highest risk of violence, would avoid it. That would reverse the gains we've made during the past century in normalizing the reality of treatable psychiatric illnesses and undermining the stigma that had made second class citizens of those suffering. The good news is that this new HHS Rule does not mandate anything. It defines a very limited change to current confidentiality requirements. 

    As things are, anyone who has been committed involuntarily to a psychiatric facility or who has been determined by a court to be "mentally defective" (i.e., unable to be responsible for themselves due to mental illness) is supposed to be listed in the NICS as a prohibited person. This information should be tracked and reported by each state. For a variety of reasons, such as variations in state requirements and despite some federal incentives, this has not happened consistently. So there are holes to fill in this reporting. 

    The new rule amends HIPPA to "permit" (it does not require) those professionals who have the legal authority to adjudicate or to involuntarily commit patients, or agencies that otherwise lawfully collect such information, to make reports on their prohibited status to the FBI for the NICS. That generally means only courts, psychiatrists, and the directors of state and county mental health departments. 

    This rarely includes other physicians. It does not include the much greater numbers of other mental health treatment providers (psychologists, social workers. counselors, etc.). It limits the information strictly to demographic identification, without any diagnosis or clinical information. So to the extent this happens, it would just make it more likely that the identities of those who are supposed to be legally prohibited will be listed. 

    "To the extent this happens" is a big "if". Physicians are historically the fiercest protectors of patient privacy, knowing the harm that can be done and embracing the guiding principle, primum non nocere ("first, do no harm"). It is not at all likely that psychiatrists or other physicians will care to provide such information routinely even though permitted to do so. 

    Along with medical ethics, HIPAA delineates in great detail under what conditions patient information can be communicated. There are very limited, emergency circumstances in which providers may have the duty to warn or protect others whom their client specifically threatens, but this has seldom caused obstacles to patients seeking or continuing treatment afterward. Whether firearms owners will selectively exclude themselves from voluntary treatment remains to be seen. 

    A much greater concern should be the absence of due process for all non-judicial additions to the NICS, as well as the lack of any routine means to be removed once on it. The same problems exist with the no-fly and terrorist watch lists; the listing by the Veterans Administration of veterans with PTSD or representative payees; and the potential for such policies to expand across the federal government (e.g., the Social Security Administration is currently considering applying the rule to Social Security recipients on disability or with representative payees). 

    None of these circumstances defines someone as impaired in the safe handling of firearms, let alone as any public danger. Yet it becomes the decision of bureaucrats, not courts, to deny these citizens their Second Amendment rights. They bear no accountability for applying these prohibitions, which are of indefinite duration. 

    For a (somewhat hopeful) example about the burden of seeking to get de-listed as prohibited, consider the story of Charles Tyler. Nearly 30 years after being committed for a situational depression relating to his wife deserting him, he discovered that he was denied the right to purchase a firearm. He'd had no further mental health issues and no criminal record, so there was no other reason to be classified as a prohibited person. 

    After a two-year legal odyssey, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati determined that the federal law defining that prohibition is unconstitutional as applied to his circumstances. No one whose civil rights have been wrongfully revoked should have to go to such cost and effort to get their rights restored. 

    It is maddening that our laws and this administration's agenda can so readily and arbitrarily consign citizens to living without the full protection of their rights as Americans. There is no excuse for installing societal protections that, while important, leave no way out for individuals unfairly trapped by them. Such rules are blind to the harsh reality they impose on people. Cheryl Todd's recent thoughts on emotional immaturity, distorted perspective, inflexibility and narcissism of people (and hierarchies) operating in "functional fixedness" may shed some light. 

    During the Guns in America town hall, the President showed a telling pattern. When responding to questioners who were supportive of his agenda, he was animated and focused on them. When replying to people who raised criticisms, he was passive and less spontaneously empathic, and changed the subject. His eyes were downcast, and he couldn't or wouldn't meet their gaze for more than a moment. 

    This is defensive behavior. It may have to do with 7 years, or a lifetime, of isolation from mainstream America. It may have to do with having no one in his circle who would ever see these subjects differently or question his wisdom about them. It may have to do with his or his party's mindset fearing guns and blaming all gun owners for the violence that some irresponsible, criminal, and distressed people do. 

    It could also indicate some shame, perhaps for his inability to answer the fair and just questions his gun policies raise for the majority of Americans. Perhaps even shame for vilifying the very people who were brave enough to confront him on his irrational, irrelevant and ineffective answers to the problem of violence in America. 

    President Obama's executive actions, while thankfully seeming bounded by some late arriving sense of the limits of his lawful powers, are not Goldilocks solutions. They are too little and too much, too soft and too hard. They simply don't fit at all. 

    -Robert B. Young, MD is a psychiatrist practicing in Pittsford, NY, an associate clinical professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. 

  • 08/21/2018 1:41 PM | Anonymous

    By Tom Rood 

    Most shooting sports advocates are concerned about dwindling youth participation and its consequences towards the future of our Second Amendment rights. Some organizations and its members are not wringing their hands in frustration over this issue but are actively doing something about it. 

    The Yates County SCOPE chapter is already sponsoring the Yates Cornell Cooperative Extension's successful 4-H youth shooting program. However, another group has asked for Yates SCOPE for help with sponsoring a new youth shooting program to begin with the 2017 school year. It is the New York State High School Clay Target League (NYSCTL). This should not be confused with the already existing Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSL). The SSSL is active in 42 states and has 13,000 high school age participants. Generally the SSSL is sponsored by organizations not necessary connected to local high schools. 

    The new NYSCTL encourages its teams to be incorporated into the high school's existing extracurricular programs. Each team competes against other high school teams by sending their scores over the internet. Participating high school team members must first complete the NYS Hunter Safety course. 

    There is no facility or maintenance cost to the school system as all shooting events occur off school property. No firearms or ammunition are ever brought onto school property and schools are not asked to transport team members to and from the shooting range. Team members go home to get their firearms and ammunition and then travel to the shooting range. All participants including coaches and instructors are insured. The program is attractive to all students as no exceptional physical abilities are required. 

    The Pal-Mac and Marcus Whitman school systems are looking to begin their new NYSCTL league early in 2017 joining five other upstate high schools: Beaver River, Belleville-Hendersen, Carthage, Copenhagen, and Sackets Harbor. It is hoped that we can encourage Penn Yan and Dundee high schools to join . the league thus adding more high school students to the shooting clays program and increase the spirit of · friendly competition among local schools. 

    There are per-member costs associated with the program. $30 League registration $10 safety equipment ( eye and ear) $200 for ammo and clay targets for the shooting year (9 shoots@ 50 clays each).

    The Yates SCOPE chapter will assist the sponsorship for the NYSCTL program in two local high schools, Penn Yan and Dundee, should either or both schools produce a clay target team. For more information on this high school clay shooting league go to http:// 

  • 08/21/2018 12:16 PM | Anonymous

    By Robert B. Young, MD 

    The New England Journal of Medicine doesn't like "research parasites". That's the term used in its January 21,2016 editorial Data Sharing to disparage people who, among other sins, may "use the data" to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited [my emphasis]. This is an amazing statement by what should be a preeminent reporter of medical science, but for too long has allied itself with the anti-gun movement. 

    The advance of science requires transparency. Once published, a study's design and data have to be shared so that others can confirm or correct them. Critiquing them is how conclusions gain credence.

    NEJM clearly states its motivation, less a self-serving excuse about honoring patient subjects: "What could be better than having high-quality information carefully reexamined for the possibility that new nuggets of useful data are lying there, previously unseen? The potential for leveraging existing results for even more benefit pays...tribute to the patients who put themselves at risk to generate the data. The moral imperative [is] to honor their collective sacrifice" [my emphasis].

    The moral imperative is to do the science right. Carefully reexamining information by others is how it is validated. This is about leveraging grants and protocols to generate more publications and career advancement.

    Withholding data is part of the gaming that goes on all too frequently in academic research that also includes avoiding reporting negative findings and (rarely) even making up results in order to look good. Funding depends on appearing productive. Reputation and rank come from success competing with other researchers for recognition.

    This is why we need "research parasites", professionals who can analyze and report on what academic studies really mean, which is often less than the media or even their authors claim. It's a huge problem among the "public health" research community, who have never seen an anti-gun claim they couldn't underwrite or a pro-rights position they wouldn't undercut-all while  ignoring overwhelmingly safe routine firearm use and hundreds of thousands of defensive uses that prevent harm each year. Conflicting findings are instantly discredited since they do  not come from the tight-knit community of self-validating anti-gun authorities. This is even more problematic as it comes from the social sciences that depend on assessing behaviors, not the "hard" science disciplines in which objective experimentation is the gold standard. 

    This more or less began with Arthur Kellerman and Frederick Rivara, who published "Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home" in NEJM in 1993. From it came the notorious claim that having a firearm in a home increases the risk of being murdered by a gun by 2.7. Of course, they picked 3 violent, crime-ridden urban neighborhoods to study, didn't even determine whether the firearms were owned by household members or others, and never considered that owning firearms for protection is very different from having them in order to assault. And, as far as we know, they've never released their raw data for review. 

    This pattern has continued ever since. (For an introduction, see "Junk Science as Propaganda".) More recently we have read about " ... the dominant public health issue of today: "Gun Safety", by the Chair of Family Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in S. News,January 28, [2016] who apparently thinks so because there are "approximately the same number of [firearms] deaths a year as motor vehicle accidents." [sic] But there were less than 600 accidental gun deaths last year. Shouldn't a more "dominant public health issue" for my profession be the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused every year in the U.S. by health care provider mistakes? It's so much easier to beat up on millions of safe, responsible gun owners.  

    ....a meta-analysis ( or summation of many studies) about "The Accessibility of Firearms and Risk for Suicide and Homicide Victimization Among Household Members" in the January 2014 Annals of Internal Medicine. They discover that most suicides and homicides occur at home, the presence of firearms is notably associated with adolescent suicide, "firearms stored loaded or unlocked are more likely to be used than those that are unloaded or locked", and women are more likely than men to be victims of homicide at home. None of this is surprising. But they ignore fundamental risk factors of mental illness and criminality, and the good in firearms used to prevent victimization. Guns in a home do not draw people to kill as moths to a flame. 

    . . . "The relationship between gun ownership and stranger and nonstranger firearm homicide rates in the United States, 1981-2010" from the October 2014 American Journal of Public Health. They found a correlation between gun ownership and homicides by acquaintances, not strangers. It seemed that homicide rates change by about 1.3% with each 1 % change in gun ownership rates. Of course, there are more households with more guns than get acknowledged, so these rate relationships aren't reliable. Their cause (gun ownership) can be effect (homicides): "people may be more likely to acquire firearms when they observe higher rates of homicide". As always, no attention is given to how gun ownership may prevent more homicides than do occur. 

    . . . that acquaintance "femicide" associated with gun ownership is somehow unique. This work is from the author of the AJPH article above, an example of how academics "leverage existing results" to pad their bibliographies. "Firearm Ownership and the Murder of Women in the United States: Evidence That the State-Level Firearm Ownership Rate Is Associated with the Nonstranger Femicide Rate" finds that firearm murders of women increase 10.2% with a 10% increase in gun ownership (whatever the significance of that 0.2% is, given underestimates of gun ownership). This appeared in Violence and Gender, a journal less than 2 years old mostly studying males harming females. Its scholarly reputation is not clear. Articles lie behind a $55 per copy paywall, which makes them unlikely to be questioned but hasn't diminished their media value. 

    ... about defense against terrorists. A January 27, [2016] piece in the Bloomberg funded The Trace by two prominent anti-gun apologists points out that the odds of being hurt by an acquaintance with a gun is far greater than by a terrorist. This just a lead-in to their thesis is that having firearms is more dangerous than protective, period. Of course, their belief in defensive gun uses is limited to shootings found in police reports or the media. That is nonsense. The federal Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council estimate that there are from 500,000 to 3 million defensive gun uses annually. The great majority are not reported, don't involve shooting, and prevent many deaths, injuries, and crimes. 

    ... , finally, a new survey published in AJPH claiming that most Americans would "consider" buying a "smart gun" that is "childproof'. Well, who wouldn't? The problem is that the survey was slanted toward eliciting agreement on superficialities in younger respondents. The NSSF's 2013 survey included a broader selection of the population, impartially explained the technology involved, and didn't pretend anything is "childproof'. 

    And anti-gun academics keep complaining that there is not enough research (read: "government funding for their projects"). There are plenty of studies, too many even for DRGO to keep up with, but patterns emerge with familiarity: 

    Basic bias: Many of these academics have been open about their fear and loathing of firearms. They treat guns as independent risk factors, and then choose hypotheses and analytic approaches that reinforce that. Yet some individual is responsible for every shot fired. Firearms are tools, the means to someone's end ( even if, rarely, literally), but they are not the agents responsible for the actions. 

    Selection bias and cherry-picked data: Anytime a study is done,  choices are made about what data will be sought, from what sources and over what time periods, and then how it should be interpreted. A smart academician (and they're very smart) can skew their oiltcoines··rrom start to finish. The scrupulous ones don't. 

    Arbitrary analogies: Comparing deaths from gunshot to entirely different phenomena (vehicle accident deaths, for example). Lessons can be drawn from flawed premises that have no relationship to the ways that guns work and can harm (say, that we must have "smart guns", because autos have built-in safety devices). 

    Blame mongering: There is no interest in explaining the overall declining risks of negligence (accidents), criminal intent (violence), and mental illness (suicide). Anti-gun academics focus on blaming everyone when the wrong people wrongly use them at the wrong times. That doesn't justify restrictions on scores of millions of American families with hundreds of millions of firearms that they use consistently safely. 

    Diversionary tactics: Setting up straw men, such as proclaiming the news that being shot by someone you know is more likely than being attacked by a terrorist. This raises anxiety that can be resolved with the reassurance that we can "do something", beginning with accepting the intended conclusions. The real world work of discriminating guns owned legally or illegally, investigating who has them and why, identifying which was the injurious ones and who used them for what reasons can be avoided. 

    False attributions: Depicting correlation as causation, always. The more honest authors admit this problem, but most present gunshot deaths and injuries as consequences intrinsic to the existence of guns, rather than as aberrations from normal gun use and users. 

    Ad hominem attacks: When anti-gun exponents can't compete on the merits they disparage their pro-rights opponents, especially with a progressive liberal vs. regressive conservative flavor. See almost any mention of "the gun lobby''. 

    If you read this "research", look for those signs. There is no shortage of "gun research"-just a shortage of serious scholars willing to examine firearms and their use without antipathy. 

    We'll get somewhere when academics care to examine how to support thoughtful, responsible gun ownership instead of assailing the historic American tradition of widespread gun possession. That will be when they call for outreach, education, treatment, and stiff consequences as the answers to "gun violence", not restrictions without evidence of efficacy. It will be when the right to keep and bear arms is accepted as strongly as the right to free speech and religion. 

    If you don't choose to wade into this academic morass, we understand. We "research parasites" will continue doing it for the common good.

     · Robert B. Young, MD is a psychiatrist practicing in Pittsford, NY, an associate clinical professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

  • 08/21/2018 11:14 AM | Anonymous

    by Timothy Wheeler, MD, Director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

    Behold this leading-bleeding scream piece from BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal and formerly a respected source of scientific information for your doctor. Medical e"or-the third leading cause of death in the US, The journal has a history of free-wheeling condemnation of American gun owners, going so far as to advocate attacking their very culture. Throwing fuel on their own fire, BMJ editors evidently have now resorted to an old if not exactly honorable practice of hack journalism-printing the shocking and the scandalous, even if the truth gets roughed up in the process. 

    Is there some truth to this article? Probably. Is truth its main mission? Not if this gleeful "report" in the Washington Post is any indication. Note the Post's helpful insertion of Consumer Report's own lurid May issue cover about the harm doctors do. Join us for a celebration of Bash Your Doctor month. 

    The article by a couple of researchers from Johns Hopkins claims that a much-cited 1999 Institute of Medicine review of hospital mortality under-counted the number of doctor and hospital-caused patient deaths at 98,000 per year. The true number, these authors deduce from reviewing more recent studies, is about 251,000. And they claim that's an underestimate caused by the limited data available from medical records. 

    No one likes to think that hospital professionals, including doctors, are human and therefore make mistakes. The 1999 IOM study, titled "To Err Is Human," launched a frenzy of soul searching, regulation crackdowns, and even heavier burdens fur doctors and hospitals in their ever-present efforts to prevent errors. Some of these efforts were needed and proved to be effective, for example, the surgical time-out, which I rigorously enforced in my operating room. 

    Others, including the attempt to apply air travel safety routines to medical care, only hamper an understanding of the far more complex challenges of health care. But we're not debating the problem of medical errors today, nor offering solutions. The goal of today's blog entry is to shine a bright light on the medical establishment' s dishonesty as it hammers away at a presumed "epidemic" of deaths caused by "gun violence," (a fabrication on several levels) while its star professionals kill many more. 

    Because as gruesomely sensational as the BMJ article is, there is some truth to it. We may debate the authors' horrifying claim that doctors and hospitals kill a quarter million Americans every year, but there is no doubt that they do kill a substantial number. And that number is almost certainly far in excess of the number killed by gun-wielding criminals. 

    The talking-point number thrown around by public health gun prohibitionists is 30,000 deaths per year caused by "gun violence." By using this figure they deliberately conflate criminal homicides with justifiable homicides, police shootings, suicides, and a small number of accidents. 

    Here's the real breakdown according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Numbers are for 2014, the most recent data available, with a U.S. population of 318,857,056, counting all ages, races, and both sexes: Homicide firearm deaths 10,945 (33% of total 32,865 deaths) Suicide firearm deaths 21,334 (65% of total 32,865 deaths) Unintentional firearm deaths 586 (2% of total 32,865 deaths) 

    Total firearm deaths from these three causes were 32,865. We exclude the small fraction of deaths due to what the CDC calls "legal intervention" and ''undetermined intent" because they are not relevant to this discussion. 

    Suicides account for two thirds of what public health gun prohibition activists deceptively call "gun violence." For most Americans the term means criminal shootings and not suicide. Suicide remains a serious problem, but solutions come from treating its underlying cause in most cases, which is mental illness. DRGO supports measures to reduce access of dangerously mentally ill people to guns. considering this a normal part of prudent gun safety measures. But the public health tactic of parading gun suicides as a justification to target all gun owners is as useless as it is dishonest. 

    We don't have room today to discuss the amazingly low 2% fraction of firearm deaths attributed to accidents, a continuation of a decades-long downward trend. Nor can we devote many words to the astonishing mendacity of public health anti-gunners who cite media reports of the rare case of a toddler shooting someone to inflate the scope of this minimal problem in uninformed minds. 

    What then, can we make of this report in the context of the public health culture war on gun owners? Medical journal editors increasingly run with controversial stories because, human nature being what it is, blood, fear. and scandal fascinate readers. 

    This trend seems to have started with George I. Amdberg, MD, the disgraced former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Right before President Bill Clinton's 1999 impeachment trial involving sexual misconduct, Lundberg scandalously rushed into publication an article claiming that college students didn't consider oral sex to be ·'real sex." Lundberg was fired for having, in the words of AMA chief Dr. E. Ratcliffe Anderson, Jr., "threatened the historic tradition and integrity of the Journal of the American Medical Association by inappropriately and inexcusably interjecting JAMA into a major political debate that has nothing to do with science or medicine." 

    Medical journal editors consider their role to include not only organizing and presenting quality research results to doctors, but using their publications to promote their personal political beliefs. 

    They become quite indignant when challenged, brandishing lofty ideals about academic freedom and freedom of speech even as they labor to deprive Americans of their freedom to own firearms. 

    Any medical journal articles addressing politically sensitive subject - e.g. guns, sex, or race - can be assumed to be propaganda until proven otherwise. 

    Timothy Wheeler, MD is Director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation. 

    Doctors For Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO)

    A project of the Second Amendment Foundation 

    Physicians and Health Care Professionals advocating for Americans' gun rights. 

    Because firearms are not a public health Issue.

    Gun Control is, at its heart, people control. While the public health assault on our fundamental human right of gun ownership is not a military assault by jack booted thugs, it is an assault nevertheless. America has been unique in preserving, and through recent high. court decisions affirming, the natural right of self defense. In the 21 years since DRGO began exposing the false scholarship of the public health gun banners we have seen a remarkable shift in public opinion. All states now have right-to-carry laws, and crime levels have dropped instead of rising. Join us in the struggle to bring honesty to the gun debate!

     OUR HISTORY: Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO) was launched in 1994 by Dr. Timothy Wheeler, a southern California surgeon. DRGO is now a nationwide network of physicians, allied health professionals, and others who support the safe and lawful use of 'firearms.

    OUR MISSION: DRGO educates health professionals and the public in the best available science and expertise about firearms, including gun safety and preventing injury and death through wise use and lawful self defense. We teach what science shows - that guns in responsible hands save lives, reduce injuries, and protect property by preventing violent crime. 

    SOME OF OUR ACHIEVEMENTS: DRGO has participated as an amicus on several important higher court decisions that have determined the course of gun policy. Dr. Wheeler's l996 testimony to the House's Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee led to the ban on funding for gun control advocacy at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    MEDIA APPEARANCES: The DRGO team has appeared on many pro-gun media and in mainstream media. We have published in numerous national media outlets and have represented our pro-rights position at medical specialty meetings as well as in the courts. 

    CALL TO ACTION: We are growing membership and building leadership teams and task forces. We are looking for health care professionals with demonstrated experience in: 

    - Published writing 

    - Analyzing research publications

    - lnteracting with the public on social media {Twitter, Facebook, etc.) 

    - Interfacing with news media 

    - Testifying about firearms before policy makers

    - Other team building and leadership experience

    We invite you to explore our website at and join us.

     Your $35 membership is tax deductible. 

  • 08/21/2018 11:02 AM | Anonymous

    By Todd Strelow 

    I hear many gun owners saying we need to do something to affect the outcome of the next election, but I don't see any of them actually doing anything. Case in point: I recently attended a gun auction that is periodically held at an auction house in my home county. There was a representative from a gun rights group and a representative from a local gun club there, each had a table set up to sell raffle tickets. Neither of them had voter registration forms at their tables. With the auction house's permission and assistance, I set up a table and registered five new pro-gun voters. At the next gun auction, both of those organizations were there again; neither had voter registration forms at their tables. I registered three more pro-gun voters. Selling raffle tickets is fine, but it doesn't get pro-gun people to the polls. 

    The time has come to stop talking and start acting. There shouldn't be a single gun related event where there isn't a table to register voters.  If your pro-gun organization is setting up a table to take donations (remember selling raffle tickets is illegal in NYS), make sure you have a stack of voter registration forms on the table. Take a book of stamps, and offer to mail in the completed forms. Don't assume people will register on their own, many of them won't. Some people, especially those who haven't voted yet, don't understand how easy it is to register. Don't assume someone else is working on registering pro-gun voters, my experience has shown me they aren't. If you belong to a gun club, get your club involved. If not, act on your own. Get a stack of voter registration forms from your county Board of Elections office (they're free). Visit every gun store in your county and ensure they have a stack of voter registration forms on their counter top. Don't forget the archery stores, they're on our side too! A friend and I did this in our home county, it took only two hours to visit six stores, and all of them agreed to let us put out voter registration forms at their locations. By sticking to the gun/archery stores, we ensured we were only registering likely pro-gun voters. We were invited to two upcoming outdoor events sponsored by two of the archery shops in our county, to set up a voter registration table. 

    If you teach a sportsmen's education class, devote 10 or 15 minutes to the importance of being politically active. While many of the students are too young to vote, they won't be forever. And these folks are our future! I put a stack of voter registration forms out in the back of the classroom, with the other course materials. 

    Two key points to keep in mind, and to point out to people. 1 - If someone has moved since the last time they voted, they need to re-register. 2- If someone is 17, but will be 18 before the next general election (this November 8th), they can and should register to vote now. 

    Even if you don't like the current candidates, I encourage you to vote and to get your friends and family to do so too. A vote for the "lesser of two evils" is better than allowing the candidate who is the most opposed to the Second Amendment to be elected. And keep in mind that you will also have the opportunity to vote for pro-gun politicians at all levels of government (town, county, state, and federal), as well as ballot initiatives, not just the presidency is at stake this election cycle. 

    We should continue to encourage our elected representatives to vote in a pro-gun manner. We should continue to ensure our voices are heard. We should continue to endeavor to elect only pro-gun people at every level of government. But we should also take action to ensure that as many pro-gun voters as possible are registered to vote, and actually do so. Registering new pro-gun voters takes a little effort, but isn't it worth a little bit of effort to retain your Second Amendment rights? 

  • 08/21/2018 10:48 AM | Anonymous

    By Mike Benard 

    Dave Kaplan's accurate description of challenges in obtaining a pistol permit (permit to own, really) in New York City illustrates why citizens in every state must stand watch against the massive assault underway on constitutional liberties like the Second Amendment (not to mention 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th amendments). Buying Your New York City Gun Rights, by Dave Kaplan, American Handgunner, March/April 2016. 

    Do not sigh in relief because you don't live here. The anti-rights folks are not just coming for firearms in New York State -- or California, or Maryland, or Connecticut. While Donald Trump brandishes his New York City carry permit to cheering crowds, few realize that celebrities like Trump and Robert DeNiro will get their carry permits -- unlike the average citizen. 

    As a resident of New York State for 30 years, I can testify that the broader situation is even worse than the specifics Mr. Kaplan cites about New York City. Firearms confiscation has already begun in New York State -- with no due process permitted. We are now in the third year of Governor Cuomo's SAFE Act which was rammed through the legislature overnight (via a "message of necessity" device) with no public hearings or public participation permitted. SAFE stands for Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013; and it politically redefines hundreds of semi-auto firearms (rifles, handguns, shotguns) as "assault weapons" using what lawyers call a "one feature" test. So if a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine has a thumb-hole stock (passing the one feature test!) --presto, it is now an "assault weapon." unbelievable.

     "Grandfather Claws" 

    If you registered your "assault" firearm with the New York State Police as required by the SAFE Act, you can legally keep it until your death, when your property must be turned over to the state. It cannot be passed on to family. And while state authorities are in your house to confiscate the registered "assault" firearms, they want a written inventory of all firearms owned by the deceased. 

    Additional provisions of the so-called SAFE Act (we call it unSAFE) only get worse. As State Police information systems evolve, it will require background checks on every ammunition purchase (registration by a different name). By 2018, all holders of a New York State pistol permit must be re-certified. For those of us who live here, we suspect that means more restrictions and probable revocation of some number of permits to own handguns. 

    Remember, New York State requires a permit to own a handgun. Forget what you think you know about "carry" permits. If you do not have what is usually referred to as a pistol permit, you cannot legally possess a handgun in New York State -- period. It doesn't matter if you promise never to take it out of your house. You cannot purchase or own a handgun without this permit. And every handgun you buy is listed on your permit. 

    The law also intrudes on mental health privacy, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union; and it violates federal HIPPA laws (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), according to the New York State Psychiatric Association. 

    Why does this matter? These provisions of the unSAFE Act are the tools for firearms confiscation. My friends and I personally know of three people who have had their firearms confiscated. The police show up at the door, seize the firearms, and deliver the owner to a nearby hospital for two hours of "observation." There is no trial, no hearing, no right to confront accusers, no due process. In other words, it is a violation of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 1411, amendments. 

    This is why the 2nd Amendment is about more than firearms. It is not a "single issue." It is the canary in the coal mine -- an early warning Firing Lines page 15 system that liberty is dying and it is not limited to 2nd Amendment freedom. Think of your constitutional rights as an ecological system -- a delicate balance -- an infringement on one freedom inevitably invites transgressions on others. 

    Is this too much conspiracy theory for you? Read about the legal case of Donald Montgomery, a retired, decorated police detective and Navy veteran, who had his firearms confiscated at the insistence of New York State Police after he voluntarily sought treatment for insomnia. Reference link: American Thinker --http:// blog/2015/01/ guns_ confiscated _after _man_seeks _in somnia_treatment.html  Mr. Montgomery is now suing to recover his constitutional rights. As his lawsuit against Governor Cuomo makes clear: New York State has "amassed the confidential, personal health information of tens of thousands of people into a database shared by various State agencies." 

    In addition, news accounts report that police in Buffalo, NY, track obituaries against pistol permit holders in order to confiscate firearms. If the surviving spouse does not also have a permit to own handguns in the state of New York, he or she cannot keep those firearms. 

    Membership is  Not Enough 

    "Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for" all of us. Unfortunately, not enough of us are doing what needs to be done. I am a Life Member of the National Rifle Association, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and SCOPE -- Shooters Committee On Political Education. All three organizations are vital, but so is our own skin-in -the game. For example, SCOPE is a true grassroots organization focused on the ground game in New York State. Among other goals, it is actively engaged in getting out the vote; and here is the great conundrum as we hear the toll of the bell: Voter participation is trending in the wrong direction. Out of 15 million eligible voters in New York State, less than one third vote; and participation in 2014 was lower than 2010. What is the voter participation in your state? I and SCOPE colleagues have helped individuals fill out voter registration forms; talked to audiences across multiple counties to energize the vote; and lobbied legislators. Should Liberty Depend on Conduct of the Lawless? 

    If citizens opt out of their right to vote, our liberty depends on an ever-shrinking pool of active voters. As that voter pool shrinks, so do our liberties. The result is more laws like the unSAFE Act -- and less freedom. A friend-of-the-court brief submitted in opposition to Mr. Cuomo's SAFE Act says it well. It was filed by the Pink Pistols, the national organization of gay and lesbian firearms owners who support the Second Amendment. It states ( emphasis added): "But to ban firearms because criminals use them is to tell law-abiding citizens that their liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the lawless .... " 

    In a positive way, our freedom does depend on our conduct: Join a 2nd Amendment Rights organization, but do more than be a member. Register to vote and/or help others to register -- then vote and get family, friends and neighbors to vote. Get involved in the political ground game -- meet with local and state legislators; support primary challenges; be visible, be vocal. 

    Take the initiative, don't wait for the order. In other words, take the initiative where your freedom is concerned. Don't wait for the restrictive order from government. 

  • 08/21/2018 10:32 AM | Anonymous

    By Budd Schroeder

    The real problem with politics is politicians. To define the problem let us better define the term "politicians." We have good people and corrupt people serving in government. So "politicians" has become the generic term for the elected officials. However, there is a big difference in attitude between politicians and statesmen. 

    One definition for each is that a statesman looks forward to the next generation when making decisions and voting. A politician looks forward to the next election and bases his decisions and voting on "what's in it for me?" To be fair, we must realize that there are some serving in office who are somewhere in the middle of the pack. However our lives are determined by the majority of those who serve in office. 

    When the country was founded, the men (yes, it was pretty sexist then) of influence and vision "did their duty'' and served for a term or two and then returned to productive work like fanning and business. It didn't take long before the serpent called Power raised its bead and started striking. Political parties formed and the power of corruption became evident. 

    The Civil War was a big influence on how power became so profitable when the Carpetbaggers and Scallywags made fortunes during the Reconstruction. The roots of the tree of corruption spread wide and deep. It continues to this day with the advent of the establishment lobbyists and special interests. Many people of modest means enter politics and end their careers with substantial resources. 

    A politician can make a good living on a political salary, but can really reap the golden harvest by becoming a lobbyist Money not only talks, but it shouts above the murmur of the crowd, and there is where most of the corruption gets its huge base. Anything from financial favors to outright bribes are evident. The recent convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos are good examples of the temptations and lack of resistance regarding those involved. 

    Those who get caught and prosecuted are just the tip of the political iceberg. Some have enough power and influence to stall or override investigations. A presidential candidate has a problem that the power brokers keep trying to suppress. However, the investigation is ongoing and we will have to see how that works out. 

    Money is a huge driver in political campaigns. This quest for the nomination for president is drawing huge amounts of money in political war chests and hundreds of millions of dollars have been thrown away on failed campaigns. The media, pollsters, consultants and advertising agencies have benefited greatly by the generosity of the process. What a stimulus it makes to the power broker economy! 

    The donations come from various sources and some even in modest donations from the people, but the big bucks come from those who benefit from having influence in the political process and what laws get passed, and even which judges get appointed to the federal courts. · What should be a fair and productive process can end up pretty slimy and pungent. The biggest tragedy is that the electorate is a part of that process. 

    We have seen so many elections where apathy is the winner when it comes to the power brokers keeping the status quo. People are easily conned or discouraged from voting. Both are assets to those who make a living with corrupt politics. 'They can keep their toadies in office with things like laws that allow gerrymandering to protect the party vote. Some politicians keep their jobs by their ability to follow the orders of the party leaders. 

    Every now and then a candidate can rise above the cesspool of dirty politics and be a voice for the people. He or she, if talented enough, can actually stimulate people to become active and at least point out the deficiencies in the governmental structure. Unfortunately, they are in a minority in New York where· the power structure runs rampant There are not enough statesmen to get rid of the "three men in a room= who rule like dictators. It is the most fertile field for the back room deals and opportunities for pocket padding by those who "go along to get along." 

    The only thing that can change corrupt government is to get rid of the corrupt politicians and elect statesmen. One saving grace that can shift the power are the grass roots organizations who care enough about the next generation to get rid of the cancerous money sucking politicians and elect people who stand up for freedom and constitutional rights. There are organizations in the state. and more popping up, who are dedicated to this cause. 

    If they can become effective in inspiring or even shaming people to go to the polls and voting the politician incumbents out and voting in statesmen, the country can be saved. Otherwise the saying "if you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you got'' will prevail. November is coming. We shall see if enough people will become true American citizens and vote for freedom and real representation of the people. 

  • 08/21/2018 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    By Budd Schroeder

    Independence Day is approaching and it is designed to celebrate the birth of our Republic. Many good people fought and died to give America a new kind of government that was different from monarchies and dictatorships. This government was constructed to be "of the people, by the people and for the people." 

    It was designed to give freedoms to the citizens who were supposed to be in charge of who would govern. They wanted representatives, not rulers. Yet, there were weaknesses in the origin of the country. The Declaration of Independence stated that "all men are created equal" yet they had a century of slavery. It took a Civil War to end that horrible practice. 

    The end of this war created the professional politician who took advantage of the reconstruction of the country. They were the Carpetbaggers and Scallywags and made a lucrative business out of politics. President Lincoln may have freed the slaves, but the politicians did their best to keep African Americans under , strict controls in the South. They politicians in the southern states enacted the Jim Crow Laws which prevented, or at least controlled the freed slaves by discriminatory practices and racism. 

    Voting was restricted by poll taxes and requirements that were difficult for black people to pass. There were separate rest rooms and even drinking fountains in public places below the Mason-Dixon Line. Justice came in two different systems, one for blacks and one for whites. The schools were segregated and the manner of educating children was not equal. The politicians created the myth that the schools were "separate, but equal." That was a political myth used as a slogan by politicians. 

    It was discriminatory and totally unfair. It took another century for the Jim Crow Laws to be abolished. The laws were introduced by politicians and signed into law by governors and law enforcement was eager to enforce these laws. Brutality was common. Justice was subjective depending on what side of the tracks a person lived. 

    Two world wars came in the Twentieth Century and even the military was segregated. Racism was condoned by the government. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had Japanese Americans placed in prison camps because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the negative feelings about Japan. Yet, there were companies of Japanese-American soldiers who served with honor in the European campaign. 

    It started out that African Americans who served in the military before the Pearl Harbor attack were relegated to kitchen duties as cooks or servers. It was highly unusual for any to become involved in regular military duty until the war in Europe and the Pacific was underway. Even then, many of the units were segregated. The African American troops served with honor and the military relaxed their segregated ways. At least they said they did. 

    By the 1960's the military had integrated forces, but the military posts below the Mason-Dixon Line still had a problem. The post was integrated, but the cities and towns outside the post were not. White and black soldiers could not go outside the post and have a meal or a drink with a buddy in the local establishments. This columnist had a very unpleasant discussion with the owner of a drive-in carhop restaurant when not served and kicked out of the parking lot because his friend was an African American. It was a valuable lesson learned. 

    Even with a Constitution and a shifting in laws, the residue of discrimination still pollutes our society. However, fixing a problem can lead to other ones. One of the biggest problems we face is the one of being "politically correct." This is a situation where confusion abounds. For example, the Second Amendment has been eroded since 1934 and crooked politicians have been trying to destroy it since then. Gun control was born in the South and grew up in the north. 

    Talking about the Jim Crow Laws brings up the unpleasant subject of the New York State SAFE act. It was passed literally in the middle of the night with a "message of necessity." This is difficult to justify considering that some of the provisions took a year to implement and some are still not being enabled. It even has a provision that, when enforced, deprives a person of four amendments in the Bill of Rights without due process. Due process is a keystone of the democratic process, yet the inept politicians passed the bill and it was signed into law by the governor. 

    The Fourth of July is a day for celebration of the freedoms we should be able to enjoy and they are our constitutional right. We should use this day to reflect, praise the veterans who gave their service to protect those rights and freedoms. We should look to change the political makeup of the state and federal governments by removing the corrupt politicians who are eroding and infringing on our freedoms. 

    The freedoms are ours to cherish and keep, or to lose. It is up to us to determine whether we are going to be content with the status quo that is robbing us of values and quality of life. This is America. Let's keep it the land of the free and the home of the brave. 

  • 08/21/2018 10:07 AM | Anonymous

    By Timothy Swedenhjelm

    I'm sharing this story as to show how the insanity of the New York State SAFE Act has lowered the quality of life for not only myself, but all New York residents. 

    I enter many competition matches throughout New York, and was recently invited by a good friend to go along on a trip to the CMP store at Camp Perry. Ohio, to be part of the CMP program to buy rifles recently released by the Federal Government. These rifles are for sale to the active members of the Civilian Match Programs (CMP). There were thirty Ml A Carbine surplus rifles to be released the next morning on a first come, first served basis. So there we go, on a 315 mile journey, to the free state of Ohio to take our chances, to try to get one of these pieces of om history to add to our private collection, and to compete in the MIA Carbine Matches. 

    We arrived at 4:30 pm to find the store closed. People were already in line for the 8:30 am opening and a chance to get one of these beauties. It's 30° outside, and only getting colder off the Jake as the night goes on, but these folks don't care. They were ready in their cold weather sleeping bags and layers of thermal underwear, ready for the morning to come. Everyone put their name on the signup sheet to keep the order, and to avoid confusion come 8:30 am. At 3:00 am, a young, bot very helpful and friendly State Highway Patrol Officer stopped over to see what we were up to. He became our hero as he had knowledge of the only place within 30 miles that was serving fresh, hot coffee. Off I go to get 20 cups of hot coffee, leaving my partner behind to keep my #10 spot locked up as up to 30 more people had arrived by this time. The 20 cups of coffee instantly disappeared as it was now 28°. 

    Finally the sun comes up, and the now new band of friends pack up their cold weather gear and prepare for the store to open. At 8:30 am the doors open and there is now 138 people in line trying to get a chance at one of these beautiful rifles. I'm thinking about how lucky I am to be #10 in line, not only do I have the chance for one of these rifles, but I'm one of the first to get inside and get warm again. We were outdoors for 12 hours at 28- 32 degree temperatures. 

    Nuts? Yes. Fun? Absolutely, as I met a bunch of folks from all over the country, just like me. This is where the story gets better. 

    I stand in line with the first thirty others and get called into the pre -processing area. We all scramble in and pick as quickly as possible. the rifle of our dreams. I pulled a beautiful IBM M J A well cared for piece then started for the counter where the processing starts. After being checked for every type of ID and proof of current memberships of all the clubs and organizations, we tag the rifle and hand it over the counter and proceed to get our background check, and start waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Then I get the news that my background check has been delayed. It's now 9:00 am and I wait, nothing ... 

    Finally at 11 :30 I get called to the counter, and in front of all these people I had just gotten to know, a lady says, ''I CAN'T SELL YOU THE RIFLE. YOU'RE FROM NEW YORK. The rifle has a bayonet lug, a removable magazine, and they just sent us a text not to sell this rifle to you." 

    She held up my paperwork and said, 'There's nothing we can do folks, he's from New York, we get our rifles from the government and we have to follow their rules." They took the tag off my chosen rifle and returned it to the rack where a very lucky guy from Illinois ran over and grabbed it up declaring that he felt like he just won the lottery; you see, he was #86!

    I have never been so ashamed to be from the state of New York as I was then, and am now! I ended up buying some ammo and leaving in disgrace, feeling ashamed of my state the entire 315 mile return trip home; that doesn't feel like home anymore. 

    So tell me again how the SAFE Act is such a good thing. Tell me how it won't affect legal NYS gun owners. 

    My statement: If you own guns, hunt, and/or belong to any club or organization in New York State, and you didn't vote; It's your fault this has happened. If you didn't vote against Cuomo. you are an enemy of freedom. These freedoms and rights were paid for by the blood of Good Men. 

    If you couldn't be bothered to vote, shame on you Cupcake. Go have another beer. 

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A 2nd Amendment Defense Organization, defending the rights of New York State gun owners to keep and bear arms!

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

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