Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul put a hold on the nomination of Vivek Murthy to be Surgeon General on Tuesday. His sole concern, echoing nearly a month of critique from conservatives, is that Murthy opposes guns.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Paul explained the rationale for the hold, which will keep Murthy's nomination from getting to the Senate floor.
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. As a physician, [Ed. – Paul is an ophthalmologist] I am deeply concerned that he has advocated that doctors use their position of trust to ask patients, including minors, details about gun ownership in the home. His organization has also advocated that physicians collect and report data on gun ownership to the Federal Government and increasing Federal funding for gun control research.
There are three standard gun rights arguments in that paragraph. First, that guns shouldn't be considered a public health issue. Second, that doctors shouldn't be allowed to ask about guns in the home. Third, that the government shouldn't collect data on gun use.
Those arguments were raised in a Washington Times opinion piece against Murthy earlier this month as well. The Gun Owners of America, a pro-gun group often considered to be even more dogmatic than the NRA ran a piece calling Murtha an "anti-gun fanatic," who might "channel huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to 'junk science studies'" that would criticize the prevalence of firearms. Both outlets pointed to tweets from Murtha as evidence of his hostility to guns.