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06/06/2016 / By JD Heyes
What is it about a certain segment of the population that is constantly looking for a way to deny American citizens their constitutional rights when it comes to owning and “bearing” firearms? Unable to convince a majority of members of Congress and state legislatures to repeal the Second Amendment, this group seeks to force Americans to either lose access to some guns or get government permission to obtain a firearm in the first place.
Add to that body of people the American College of Physicians, a group that basically says doctors should have some say in whether or not you can own a gun.
As reported by Reuters, via Fox News, currently doctors are not likely to question their patients about gun safety, but they ought to, a growing number of physicians groups believe.
According to physicians writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, asking about firearms access is an issue of health – “just like asking about car seats, alcohol use, sexual behavior, and smoking,” co-author Dr. Megan Ranney, of Brown University in Providence, R.I., told Reuters via email.
This, despite the fact that the risk of firearm-related homicide is highest (by far) among young African American males and that most gun deaths come from suicide, for which older white males are at the highest risk.
While physicians try to intervene to mitigate health risks, they have thus far been largely silent in asking patients about gun access and discussing gun safety. For now, Ranney and her colleagues write, physicians don’t ask about how many guns are in a patient’s house and that they counsel poorly, if at all, about gun safety.
But that could be because most people don’t think that such intimate details about a constitutional right are anyone’s business, and that is especially true for the family doctor, who is supposed to be treating your aches and pains, not lecturing you about your guns.
Again, though, this group of physicians seem to think they have some inherent right to be gun gatekeepers. So what happens if doctors begin asking how many guns their patients have – will these activist anti-gun physicians “fire” patients who are gun owners and avid Second Amendment supporters?
Reuters reported further:
[The physician authors] urge physicians to initiate conversations about firearm safety, and they point out that no federal or state laws forbid those conversations when they are relevant to a patient’s health.
But in one state – Florida – physicians are not allowed to ask patients about their guns, as the state has passed a gag law preventing such discussions. Activist anti-gun physicians, however, look at that law and any others like it is somehow interfering with the doctor-patient relationship. Florida lawmakers and their constituents obviously didn’t see it that way.
Anyhow, Ranney and her colleagues laid out three settings in which gun safety conversations ought to be held: when there is an immediate risk that patients will hurt themselves or someone else; when there are risk factors for violence in the home like domestic abuse, drug abuse or serious mental illness; and when patients belong to a group that is at high risk for violence to themselves or someone else when there are children in the home.
While such reasoning seems logical, the fact is that in most states, primary care providers have some level of reporting requirement to state authorities in any or all three of the conditions laid out by Ranney and her co-authors. So lecturing about “gun safety” should probably be the least of their concerns.
In any event, Dr. Erik A. Wallace from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Colorado Springs says he thought about buying a firearm after a patient threatened to kill him, but he talked himself out of it. Too much “risk.” Instead, he believes we should surrender our constitutional rights.
“We need to decide as a society what the appropriate balance is between protecting our individual freedoms and society as a whole,” Wallace said. “As we make changes to protect society, we must sacrifice our individual freedoms.”
Note to Dr. Wallace: “We” as a society, made these decisions centuries ago when our founders chose freedom and self-reliance and independence – which included the recognition of a divine right to self-defense. As an American you can certainly choose to be a victim, but tens of millions of other Americans, as guaranteed by the Constitution, can make the decision not to be victimized by thugs, criminals and ne’er-do-wells, as is their right.
Making society more vulnerable to violence by taking away the people’s ability to defend against it is not rational, no matter who says so and no matter how often it is said.
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