I went to the doctor this morning – nothing urgent, just a checkup for a mid-40s guy who hasn’t been to the doctor in years, but when they gave me that ubiquitous survey about my lifestyle (Do you smoke? How often do you drink?), I was looking for one particular question:
Do you own a gun in your home?
Doctors are increasingly asking this question, and conservative lawmakers are trying to stop them.
In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott signed a law in 2011 banning doctors from asking about firearms in their patients’ lives, The Washington Post is reporting.
But doctors still think this is a great idea … you know, to protect you from yourself. In a new study, they said that no law should stop them from asking about guns:
“Firearm violence is an important health problem, and most physicians agree that they should help prevent that violence,” wrote Garen J. Wintemute, a public health expert at the University of California Davis and co-author of the paper, in an email to The Washington Post. In the literature review, which doubles as a call-to-arms, the authors conclude it is neither illegal nor unreasonable to ask patients about gun safety.
“No federal or state law prohibits doctors from asking about firearms, counseling about their use, and — when there is imminent risk of harm — disclosing information to others who can help,” Wintemute said. Several states have mulled statutes similar to Florida’s, but none of the proposed bills have passed.
“Physicians seek to prevent important health problems at the individual and population levels,” Wintemute and his colleagues write. “They inquire and counsel—routinely in some cases, selectively in others—about a wide range of health-related behaviors and conditions. In certain circumstances, they disclose otherwise confidential information to third parties to limit the risk an affected person poses to others. Physicians generally do not do well at firearm related injury prevention, however. They ask infrequently about firearms and counsel poorly, if at all, though they are aware that the high lethality of firearms makes prevention efforts particularly important.”
These doctors claim genuine concern about their patients – and that’s probably true. White men who show signs of depression are are at a high risk to commit suicide with a gun, statistically speaking. And simply being forced to confess you keep loaded guns lying around your house within reach of your young children might be enough to convince someone to lock up the guns.
But that’s not the point. The point is that in a political and cultural environment that is increasingly hostile to the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun owners, telling anyone outside your immediate family that you are armed is a risk. It’s a risk because that information will go on your medical record and if they don’t already, the feds will soon have access to all your medical records.
And it’s only a small step until one day when liberals control all the levers of government and can impose mandatory gun registration or confiscation.
And you’d better believe they’ll use all resources available to them to find out who owns the guns so you may be disarmed. Quickly and without incident.
So what do you do when your doctor asks if you have a gun in the home? Jazz Shaw, writing for HotAir, has a good idea: Lie.
Don’t tell them you do have a gun, because that instantly becomes part of your medical record.
Don’t waffle, or tell the doctor you’re “uncomfortable” answering the question, because they very well may notate that too.
Lie. Right through your teeth. “Why no, doc, I don’t have any guns in the home at all!”
It’s none of anybody’s business anyway.
By the way, that question never was on the questionnaire I filled out. But I’ll be ready next time.