Thursday, January 17, 2013

Doctors, patients, and guns

Yesterday (Jan 23, 2013), Barrack Obama announced 23 initiatives allegedly to stem gun violence. All of his ideas have been tried at the state and/or federal levels and all have failed to reduce violent crime.

While all 23 of his ideas clearly violate the constitutional limits imposed on the central government, one of these power-hungry and misguided ideas involved doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. It would:
Protect the rights of health care providers to talk to their patients about gun safety: Doctors and other health care providers also need to be able to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes and safe storage of those firearms, especially if their patients show signs of certain mental illnesses or if they have a young child or mentally ill family member at home.
It is preposterous to presume that any medical professional has a right "to talk to their patients about gun safety" or "to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes and safe storage of those firearms" any more than they have a right to ask about the color of their carpets. They have not right to intrude into a patient's life in areas completely unrelated to the quality care he or she does have an obligation to provide.

Medical doctors, nurses, and other staff are trained in medicine. They are not qualified in firearms and firearm safety (unless they also happen to be NRA-certified firearm instructors). To venture outside their professional role and training as a healthcare provider violates an important ethical boundary:
...your doctor may be violating a doctor-patient boundary. Doctors are ethically bound not to use their patients’ trust to advance a personal interest such as a political agenda. And the evidence shows that in almost every case, doctors’ questions to you about guns are motivated by anti-gun politics. -- Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
If a medical professional becomes aware of a patient's status as a gun owner, it might be wise to advice him or her to seek training from a qualified firearms instructor. Otherwise, it is none of his or her business!
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. -- United States Bill of Rights
What is it about "shall not be infringed" that doctors and politicians don't understand?

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