There is a strangulation hazard for infants in drop down cribs. In 10 years there were at least 32 infants deaths directly attributable to this style of crib, so the standards were changed in 2011. Since 2011 no new cribs have been made with a drop down feature.

When all crib deaths were reviewed there were definitely other causes, such as slat breakage or mattress support issues, but this ruling focused on this one mechanism that seemed to stand out as a cause and have an easy fix.

There was no recall. The government did not go into the homes of people with drop down cribs and forcibly remove them (there were about 7 million in circulation), but companies had to stop making drop down cribs. People who want to use their neighbor’s old crib can, but they can not buy a new drop down crib anywhere.

People are completely free to keep using an older drop down cribs that they already own, but the CPSC does however provide some safety suggestions for that situation.

The government didn’t take away the right of parents to have cribs in general and did not go into their homes and tell them how to parent their children or how to put them to sleep for that matter, they jut stopped the manufacture of one particular crib model that was associated with death by a specific mechanism.

Now let’s look at AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles that can fire off a 100 rounds in minutes. A rifle that was used in four recent mass shootings including the very recent Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, and Aurora, Colorado. A rifle that caused 103 deaths in those four mass shootings.

Mass shootings are a very specific mechanisms of death, like strangulation from a drop down crib.

There are about 9 million AR-15s in circulation. There were 7 million drop down cribs.

An AR-15 is, in many states, almost as easy to get as a crib.

If we banned the manufacture of AR-15s and AR-15 style rifles there would be fewer mass shooting deaths because in the United States these shootings typically happen with a newly purchased weapon. The AR-15 style weapons are currently very inexpensive, some can be purchased for about $200 online. If no new AR-15s were made the resale price would rise steeply and one additional safety measure could be the requirement that resales be done through very specific dealers who have completed a certification in better identifying who might be a potential mass shooter. And a waiting period for background checks. 

It should be illegal to manufacture AR-15 style rifles in the United States.

This doesn’t mean people can’t have guns, just that we shouldn’t be making any more of the one weapon that is often the cause of death by one particular mechanism and the resale of the ones left in circulation should be closely monitored.





Join the Conversation


  1. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but maybe you should stick with writing about what you know, namely medicine.

      1. Yes, medicine is about saving lives. That doesn’t mean you know how to evaluate the threat in areas far from your area of expertise. The AR-15 is simply an evil-looking gun, not substantially more dangerous than many other guns out there. You complain about politicians trying to regulate abortion clinics yet you’re going as far out of your area of expertise as they are.

      2. It has killed many in mass shootings, it’s more than “evil looking.”

        It kills more in mass shootings than other guns. This post is about mass shootings so other causes of gun related deaths are irrelevant.

    1. And what kind of expertise gives you license to tell Dr Gunther what she can and cannot write about on her blog?

  2. I have been anxiously awaiting an article from you about this topic. I think it’s genius – just like everything else I’ve read on your site. I couldnt agree more with everything you’ve ever written. Please keep the posts coming!!

  3. I have been anxiously awaiting your commentary on this tragedy. I think it’s genius – just like everything else you post. You state my exact thoughts and feelings in such an eloquent and knowledgeable way. I just wish there were more people who shared our ideals. Please keep the posts coming!

  4. Since your post is about mass shootings you imply that people killed in ones and twos are not the same as people killed in dozens or larger groups. Sounds almost like the definition of “if it bleeds it leads” or misleads. If your thesis is correct if there were fewer or no AR-15s there would be fewer or no mass shootings. Columbine, Ft. Hood, The Colorado movie theatre, San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, what others? In how many was an AR-15 used? Very few. So it appears that maybe you have taken the marketing bait as much as the gun fanciers you don’t think should have practical access to these deadly evil machines.

  5. Hi Dr. Gunter,

    I’ve been a longtime reader here, haven’t commented before but I’m a huge admirer and always glad to see you fighting for truth in medicine. There’s a lot of people that don’t take an evidence-based approach to the field and it’s really good to see someone who really strives for sane practice.

    I think you’ll be interested to see this data:

    I’m very much in favor of much more stringent regulations on guns*, but based on this info, I really don’t think that the AR-15 and similar rifles are a good thing to focus on, as they’re not the real problem by a large margin. IMO, making it the issue only gives others a reason to dismiss what you’re saying, since making just those illegal won’t solve the real problem. Perhaps you’ll agree?

    Cheers, and keep fighting the good fight!

    * I think all guns should be much more difficult to acquire than they are and have very strict rules on how you’re allowed to keep them, including mandatory regular inspections (job creation eh?).

  6. My wife sent me your article on late term abortions, which I found to be highly educational. I am 100% Pro Choice with little or no concern as to why a woman wants to undergo a procedure of that nature. Her body, her choice.

    As I looked through your other articles I can across this one, which I found to be odd, but interesting. Kind of weird comparing a crib to a rifle but none the less I can see the argument.

    I am a career military member, over 20 years, and I am all for tougher gun control. In a perfect world this could be attainable, but unfortunately this is not the case. There are way to many companies making guns, profiting from the sales and so on. We all know how the government works, so lets just say until the gun lobby ceases, not a lot will ever happen with any real legislation. What can change however is the laws on ammunition. Which has never or very rarely ever come up in any discussion. The guns, and the magazines seam to always be at the head of the fight, but all would be useless without the ammunition. There is almost zero regulation on ammunition, in fact most components of a bullet can be purchased without any back ground check or license. Most sport gun people reload spent cartridges cutting down the cost of re-firing.

    Making ammunition, and components to make ammunition harder to acquire. That could be a logical start, since a gun with out a bullet is just a conversation piece. And as cliché as it sounds guns don’t kill, bullets do.

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