Asking Patients About Guns is a Loaded Question for Docs

The American College of Physicians says gun-related violence is a public health problem that doctors should address with patients. But few physicians actually do.

4 comments on "Asking Patients About Guns is a Loaded Question for Docs"
Kevin Michalowski (4/14/2014 at 11:57 AM)

If you believe it is time for Doctors to start asking patients about guns, then it is well past time for Doctors, and organizations like yours, to start getting real training and solid information about guns. Your position on an assault weapons ban is foolish. How is it that a pistol grip or bayonet lug or detachable magazine could make one gun more dangerous than another? Your support of Universal Background Check is simply a cover for a national registration scheme. If you sell me a gun without conducting a background check how is anyone to know? The only way anyone could know is if the gun's serial number was registered in a national data base AND someone physically confirmed the location of that gun on a regular schedule. Even then unless the confirmation of the location was daily that background check does nothing to stop a crime. So, a background check without registration and regular confirmation of location does nothing but interfere with the rights of honest citizens. Do we still have a 4th Amendment right against illegal searches? Does the fact that we own a gun suddenly make us a criminal, subject to such searches? Far better would be for the your group to promote universal firearms training starting in elementary school. Both my my children started firearms training and use at age 7. Thanks to responsible parenting and valuable early education, both are now fine, responsible young adults with great safety skills. You spend very little time talking about personal responsibility and much more time talking about intrusions into people's private lives. If you, as physicians, want to reduce the number of people injured or killed through the misuse of firearms, you should all become certified firearms instructors and begin teaching safety classes. At the same time, please publish the number of deaths as a result of physician malpractice. Then tell us who and what is more dangerous.
cb (4/11/2014 at 1:02 PM)

If that is a question asked by my doc I'm finding another doc.
Todd Lilje (4/10/2014 at 9:08 PM)

Having a very difficult time understanding why physicians need to address the issue of guns in the home! Historically, this country has maintained to the right to bear arms, a constitutional right. Guns in the home are one of many potential hazards in the home, but do not need to be singled out any more than other such hazards in the home, unless you are of of the mind that no one should own guns, except the federal government.
K Piper (4/10/2014 at 3:36 PM)

I agree guns are an astronomical health and social problem in the USA. However, looking at PHYSICIANS as the resolution to it from a health perspective has problems simply because it is so much more than a health problem. We have a true "social ills issue" here, asking MDs to resolve this through health counseling is like asking teachers to be responsible for instilling morals and values and ethics in children whose own parents refuse to be the ones responsbile for raising them. Add to that, there may be risk to the physician's own health and well being raising "guns" as a "health issue" to patients when so many people have a "don't tread on me" and "don't mess with my guns" attitude about guns. Don't expect physicians to be the front line resolvers of America's gun problems.


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