Vivek Murthy is a well-regarded physician and instructor at Harvard Medical School. Like the president he hopes to serve as surgeon general, he supports greater regulation of firearms. That said, the surgeon general has no role in regulating guns, a task that falls to the perennially underfunded and legislatively hobbled Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
So why are the National Rifle Association and its allies in the extreme gun-rights movement so panicked about Murthy? "The surgeon general has the important tasks of providing the American public with information to better inform decisions related to their health and directing much of the federal government's public health efforts," said the NRA's lobbying arm on its website.
The crucial words are "information" and "public health." The extreme gun-rights movement makes expansive claims about the benefits of gun ownership. Few of those claims pass even the crudest standards of scholarship.