The "Docs vs. Glocks" discussion has popped up again as a Florida law restricting doctors from discussing the subject up will be appealed this summer.
Recent opinion pieces in The Washington Post, and Boston Globe, have advocated for doctor’s right to ask about gun ownership, but what do their patients think?
Gun owners have complained for years to the National Rifle Association about questions pushing a political agenda that is not appropriate for the doctor’s office. Doctors do not receive firearm safety training in medical school, and advising patients about the many nuances of gun ownership is far outside their field of expertise.
What if I answer yes to their question about firearms in my home. Do they know what is best for me and my family in terms of safety and storage?
And if you’re thinking these guidelines are merely about safety, they come directly from journals that seek to treat firearm ownership as a health epidemic. Dr. Katherine Christoffel, one of the authors of an American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy to advise gun-owning families to get rid of their firearms wrote in an American Medical Association journal "Guns are a virus that must be eradicated."
Many, rightly, object to this invasion of privacy. The doctor-patient relationship is built on trust that the physician is knowledgeable on the subject and has the patient’s best interests in mind. A doctor who misuses their position of authority makes a gross violation of ethics. You wouldn’t go to gun store to treat a broken arm, so why would you expect a doctor to give advice on firearms?
Where are the questions about pools, stairs, household cleaners, etc. If safety is the main concern, then shouldn’t they also ask about the neighborhood I live in, and if it’s not safe, would they suggest I get a gun to protect my family?
The reality is, I should be able to receive medical care without being subject to a politically motivated inquisition regarding a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
States like Florida, Missouri and Montana have passed laws that prohibit physicians from asking their patients about firearm ownership, but doctors in other states have vowed to keep asking until it is not permitted.
The NRA is committed to helping citizens be responsible gun owners. If I want to learn about firearm safety and storage I’ll go to the most trusted source.