Mar. 10, 2014
By Fred Lucas
Second Amendment advocates are worried about President Barack Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, a political ally of the president and strong proponent of gun restrictions.
Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy is the president and founder of Doctors for America, which grew from the campaign organization that was called Doctors for Obama, started in 2008. The organization has advocated for a number of liberal initiatives, including strongly supporting the passage of Obamacare and Medicaid expansion.
The group has also been supportive of the Obama administration’s failed push for expanding gun control laws in 2013. It successfully fought a proposed Florida law that would have prevented doctors from including in a person’s medical file whether they are a gun owner. Doctors for America has referred to guns as a public health threat, and circulated a petition to pressure Congress to pass stricter gun laws.
“This is so big we are scoring it,” National Rifle Association spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen told TheBlaze regarding the vote on the surgeon general nomination. “We sent out notifications to our 5 million members asking them to contact their senator to vote against this nomination.”
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 13-9 last month to send Murthy’s nomination to the Senate floor.
The surgeon general does not have a major policymaking role, but rather has a megaphone to speak about public health issues.
But the person in that position must be someone the public can trust, Mortensen said.
“The surgeon general has the important task of providing information to people to help them make better decisions about health care. It’s a position that requires trust and leadership,” Mortensen said. “The American people need to know they can look to that person who is independent and not with a political agenda. The American people deserve to have confidence in their surgeon general.”
NRA Executive Director Chris Cox sent a letter to members of the Senate denouncing Murthy’s long advocacy of gun control.
The NRA takes particular exception to a letter from the organization on Jan. 14, 2013 supporting licensing of guns, limits on ammunition purchase, and a mandatory 48-hour waiting period. The letter further asks for removing “provision in the Affordable Care Act and other federal policies that prohibit physicians from documenting gun ownership.”
The NRA letter also quotes a Murthy tweet from Oct. 16, 2012 that “guns are a health care issue.”