Guns

Rand Paul Blocks Surgeon General Nom. Who Called Gun Violence A Threat To Public Health

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., placed a hold on surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy Wednesday morning, claiming he’s too close to the Obama administration to be impartial.

“I have serious concerns about Dr. Murthy’s ability to impartially serve as ‘the Nation’s Doctor,’” Paul wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “The majority of Dr. Murthy’s non-clinical experience is in political advocacy.”

“In his efforts to curtail Second Amendment rights, Dr. Murthy has continually referred to guns as a public health issue on par with heart disease and has diminished the role of mental health in gun violence,” Paul wrote.

“Dr. Murthy has disqualified himself from being Surgeon General because of his intent to use that position to launch an attack on Americans’ right to own a firearm under the guise of a public health and safety campaign,” he added.

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Murthy, who works at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, founded Doctors For America, which has advocated for both gun control and the Affordable Care Act.

Paul argues that focusing on mental health is a better way to curb gun deaths in America.

The vast majority of gun violence in America is committed by people with no mental illness, ThinkProgress reports.

Despite the delay, Murthy is still expected to be confirmed.

A spokesman for Reid, Adam Jentleson, said in an email that revised Senate procedures allow filibusters to be stopped with a simple majority vote. Jentleson noted that Paul also put a hold on confirming Janet Yellen, who was confirmed as leader of the Federal Reserve in January.

Sources: ThinkProgress, Boston Globe