Physicians have multiple roles. In addition to treating illness and injury, they have a public health duty to address risk factors in individuals and society that contribute to morbidity and mortality.
Responsible gun owners know how to behave around guns, including proper storage and use. In the same way that responsible parents use car seats and seat belts for their young passengers, responsible parents who are gun owners must secure their weapons to avoid accidental misuse.
A recent Slate article, “Pediatricians vs. the NRA,” demonstrates the ability of the NRA to successfully introduce legislation that suppresses a physicians ability to do their jobs and to exercise their free speech rights.
The “Privacy of Firearm Owners” law passed in Florida in 2011 prohibits doctors from “making written inquiry or asking questions concerning the ownership of a firearm or ammunition by the patient or by a family member of the patient.”
Fortunately, the law is under attack and being challenged. Hopefully, it is also being ignored by many physicians who understand that there are bigger issues at play here – and that those who write such laws should be confronted with the obligation of enforcing it by trial and punishment. There are times when civil disobedience may be called for. This would appear to be one of them.
Peffer D.C. says
I had a schizophrenic patient obtain a gun, he was paranoid. The screen failed initially, but police retrieved the fire arm with out incident a few days later. The patient told me the story and told me the police asked for the gun and he was very cooperative. I would have called the POLICE and reported if this gun was not removed. Children, mentally impaired and criminals should not have access to guns. Alot of the violent, unstable need to be locked up not out running around
Dr. John says
Only if someone has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, with the exception of PTSD, the majority of military in combat zones have been diagnosed with this. There needs to be different levels established. We did not see rises in murder after Vietnam, Korea, WWII, or WWI. If laws currently on the books ie no fire arms for mental disorders or criminals. The percentage of law abiding citizens commenting crime is very low. Criminals do not follow the law!! They buy guns from the black market. Look at New York, D.C., Chicago, or any other large city with strict gun laws. They have high crime and gun violence rates. How is this possible with their strict laws? If and only if mental diagnosis then 2nd amendment rites can be restricted. Perfect example is recent events in Alabama. A man with multiple firearm offenses and mental instability was able to have guns. If current laws were followed the terrible tragedy of loss of life and mental trauma to to a child would not of happened. Before we add new laws, lets enforce current laws!!!!!
health care jobs says
I think doctors should be able to get the information if the patients are using firearms. God knows who open fire on people and kills innocent men and women.