Government Now Pressuring Doctors Into Spying On Patients Who Own Guns
Government Now Pressuring Doctors Into Spying On Patients Who Own Guns BY: David Gutierrez
A Massachusetts coalition of doctors and law enforcement is starting a program to encourage physicians to start asking patients whether they own guns.
Backers say the program is a public health screening program designed to make sure patients have access to good safety information, similar to asking patients whether they are smokers or have a swimming pool. But gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association have criticized such programs as an infringement of the privacy implied by the Second Amendment, and say it exceeds the bounds of responsible medicine.
Patients are not legally required to answer such questions, nor are doctors legally required to ask them.
According to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, the new program is intended to help cut rates of gun accidents, violence and self-harm.
“While the vast majority of gun owners are responsible and deeply committed to gun safety, this remains a public health issue, and conversations between patients and health care providers are critically important to preventing gun-related injury and death,” Healey said.
Two separate groups representing state police chiefs have endorsed the program.
“Many households in our country have guns, but they can cause harm if not handled properly,” said Chief James DiGianvittorio, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. “We require the bearer of a license to carry a permit, to take required safety courses, however, many times other family members have no formal training. This program will at the very least open the door to conversations between physicians and patients on the risk factors associated with firearms-related injuries.”
Program backers emphasized that firearm owners identified through screening will not be reported to law enforcement, but will instead receive gun safety counseling.